The Lawrence Photograph 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.

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Bibliographic Details
Main Creator: French, Robert, 1841-1917 photographer
Contributors: Lawrence, William, 1840-1932
Format: Photo
Notes:The Lawrence Photographic Collection is made up of several sections. There are 738 boxes of ca. 9122 cabinet glass plates which measure 19 x 13 cm. They are numbered 1-9563 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. 4237 plates in 358 boxes. They are numbered 1-4,358 and are catalogued under name and call number LIMP.

There are 1141 boxes of ca. 12,409 royal glass plates. These are numbered 1-15094 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 1-10751 and made up of ca. 10724 plates in 843 boxes. They are catalogued under name and call number LNS.

The bulk of the collection cover the years 1865-1914.

On shelf 0903 one framed and hand coloured print (perhaps a photomecanical print) of Lismore Castle, Waterford.

Numbered Mammoth Plates (21-190) on shelves 1343-1345. Mammoth plates can measure up to ca. 38 x 30 cm.

Related Materials: NLI Dept of Manuscripts : See also the following Albums: Album 10 (call no ALB10, vtls 533873), Album 43 (call no ALB43, vtls 284186), Album 71 (call no ALB71, vtls 534389), Album 86 (call no ALB86, vtls 534687), Album 87 (call no ALB87, vtls 538122), Album 89 (call no ALB89, vtls 534723), Album 105 (call no ALB105, vtls 534777), Album109 (call no ALB109, vtls 534786), Album 119 (call no ALB119, vtls 534847), Album 152 (call no ALB152, vtls 535115), Album 152a (call no ALB152a, vtls 539626), Album 153 (call no ALB153, vtls 535142), Album 156 (call no ALB156, vtls 535168), Album 157 (call no ALB157, vtls 535205), Album 158 (call no ALB158, vtls 535208), Album 159 (call no ALB159, vtls 535215), Album 160 (call no ALB160, vtls 535255), Album 194 (call no ALB194, vtls 129949), Album 281 (call no ALB281, vtls 535568), Album 298 (call no ALB298, vtls 535943), Album 300 (call no ALB300, vtls 535999), Album 325 (call no ALB325, vtls 536159), Album 336 (call no ALB336, vtls 536451).

Related Materials: National Photographic Archive : See also Roche Postcard Collection (vtls 533143), Lawrence Postcards and Printing Blocks Collection (vtls 577943), Souvenir Albums of Irish Scenes (vtls 669772), Souvenir album of local views of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo (vtls 669778), The Stereo Pairs photograph collection (vtls 34077), The Eblana photograph collection (vtls 340626), John Joly Collection (vtls 34033), Magic Lantern and Slides Photographic Collection (vtls 315650), Lakes of Killarney (Lawrence Prints) (vtls 540529), Lawrence carte-de-visite of a young boy (vtls 314141), Lawrence and others cartes de visite Collection (vtls 299640), Possible Lawrence Portraits (vtls 524496), Mount Melleray Photographic Collection (vtls 522012), Parnell Prints by Lawrence (vtls 300780), Cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, prints and postcards by Dublin Studios, Lawrence, McLeon (vtls 300783), Killarney Photographs by W. Lawrence (vtls727957).

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: 3613 boxes ; in preservation envelopes, in mylar, in phase boxes, mounted, framed.

Physical description: prints [ca. 10551] : b&w.

Physical description: postcards [ca. 240].

Physical description: glass negatives [ca. 45117] ; 37.5 cm x 29.9 cm or smaller.

Physical description: plastic negatives [ca. 758] : b&w.

Physical description: albums 8.

Physical description: lantern slides 16.

Physical description: cartes-de-visite 6.

Physical description: plastic positives 1.

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.

Finding Aids: Several finding aids for the various parts of the collection are available in the NPA Reading Room counter.

Published / Created: [ca. 1865-1943].
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