The Lawrence photographic collection
Most of this collection is made up of people, topographical views and interior views throughout Ireland. Included are some taken in the main reading room of the National Library of Ireland.
|Main Author:||French, Robert, 1841-1917 photographer|
[between ca. 1865-1943]
The Lawrence Photographic Collection is made up of several sections. There are 738 boxes of ca. 9,122 cabinet glass plates which measure 19 x 13 cm. They are numbered 1-9,563 and are catalogued and digitised under the name Lawrence and call number LCAB on the online catalogue.
Imperial glass plates measure 31 x 25 cm and there are ca. 4,237 plates in 358 boxes. They are numbered 1-4,358 and are catalogued under name and call number LIMP.
There are 1,141 boxes of ca. 12,409 royal glass plates. These are numbered 1-15,094 and measure 22 x 17 cm and are catalogued and digitised under name and call number LROY.
New Series are images considered imperfect by Lawrence, or images that were replaced by Lawrence with more up-to-date versions in later years. They are made up of different sizes. They are numbered 1-10,751 and made up of ca. 10,724 plates in 843 boxes. They are catalogued under name and call number LNS.
Eblana was acquired, probably bought, by the Lawrence firm and is comprised of ca. 2,799 in 234 boxes. They are numbered 1-2,906 and a small number are catalogued and digitised under name and call number EB. As well as Eblana there are Eblana Religious, Eblana Stereopairs and CDV Eblana Comic. See Eblana Collection level catalogue record for more information.
The Stereo Pairs collection was also acquired by the Lawrence firm and numbers apporximately 3,006 glass plates in 242 boxes. They are numbered 1-3059 with some unnumbered and most are catalogued and digitised under name and call number STP. See Stereo Pairs Collection level catalogue record for more information.
A number of plates are broken, cracked or CBF.
As well as glass negatives, the NPA houses ca. 885 copper printing blocks for printing postcards and ca. 4,406 prints in 48 boxes.
There are mammoth glass plates and 44 boxes of ca. 486 glass plates of various sizes called mammoth which are presumably copies of the mammoth plates.
The vast majority of images from this collection cover the years 1865-1914.
There are ca. 55 boxes with miscellaneous and unsorted glass plates with plates that are probably Lawrence.
See also "Mount Mellary (Lawrence Prints)Photographic Collection" (vtls 522012).
NS 3761 "Hotel Burtonport, Co. Donegal" is CBF, but the Irish Architectural Archive holds a copy print of it.
National Photographic Archive See also PC 08 Lot13 which includes some Lawrence eviction glass negatives, the John Joly slide collection, the Lawrence Photographic Project Collection which are images of views taken ca. 1870-1910, most by Robert French, and comparative photographs taken in 1990 by 77 profesional and amateur photographers in the Federation of Local History Societies and the Federation for Ulster Local Studies and Our Own Place Photographic Project Collection which is a follow-up on the Lawrence Photographic Project taken in 1993-1995.
William Mervyn Lawrence (1840-1932) was an entrepreneur who recognised the commercial potential of photography and opened a photography studio on Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street) in Dublin in 1865 where he employed photographers, printers, colourists, retouchers and sales personnel. Though not a photographer himself, his business thrived and his topographical views of Ireland were particularly profitable in the form of postcards and souvenirs with the rise in tourism in the early twentieth century. Lawrence retired in 1916 and ownership of the business passed to his youngest son Wiliam. Within weeks the Easter Rising had broken out and the Lawrence shop was among the first to be looted. The portrait negatives which were housed in the Sackville Street premises were destroyed but the glass plate negatives of outdoor views were stored in Rathmines and so survived. While continuing for another quarter of a century the business failed to continue its success and closed in December 1943.
Robert French began working in the Lawrence photographic studio in the early 1860s. He was the chief photographer responsible for photographing approximately three quarters of the National Library's Lawrence Collection. He specialised in outdoor views and captured images of almost every small village in Ireland. He left the firm in 1914.
Physical description: 3,705 boxes ; in preservation envelopes, in mylar, in phase boxes, in inadequate housing
Physical description: prints ca. 4,470 : b&w
Physical description: postcards ca. 72
Physical description: glass negatives ca. 43,430 ; 37.5 cm x 29.9 cm or smaller
Physical description: plastic negatives ca. 440 : b&w
Citations/References: "Into the Light: an Illustrated Guide to the Photographic Collections in the National Library of Ireland" by Sarah Rouse, pp 54-56, 72, 84 and 96.
Citations/References: "The light of other days: Irish life at the turn of the century in the photographs of Robert French" (ed) Kieran Hickey.
Indexes: Several finding aids for the various parts of the collection are available in the NPA reading room as well as a small number for the Lawrence Photographic Project Collection and the Our Own Place Project.