Close No. 28 Saltmarket Annan, Thomas  (Scottish, 1829-1887)

The city of Glasgow contained some of the worse slum in Europe in the mid nineteenth century. In 1866 the City finally passed an act which enabled it to destroy the decaying buildings of the old city center. Thomas Annan was commissioned to record the buildings, streets and alleys before they were demolished. The resulting images are a haunting record of poverty, yet beautifully rendered examinations of architecture and atmosphere. Forty of the images were first published as carbon prints in 1878 as Photographs of Old Closes, Streets, &c., Taken 1868 – 1877. Glasgow City Improvement Trust. Annan continued to make pictures of these locals, and in 1900 the present edition, with additional images, was published utilizing the photogravure process. Although not stated, it is presumed that the photogravures were made by James Craig Annan, his son, who is considered one of the master practitioners of the process. Truthful Lens #4

In William Buchanan’s J. Craig Annan : Selected Texts and Bibliography, he states that there were a total of 250 copies printed with two imprints, that of MacLehose comprising 150 copies, and 100 copies with the imprint of T& R Annan & Sons. This work is regarded as a monument of photographically illustrated social documentation.


Stevenson, Sara, and A D. Morrison-Low. Scottish Photography: The First Thirty Years. , 2015. Print. P.203

Goldschmidt Lucien Weston J Naef and Grolier Club. 1980. The Truthful Lens : A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book 1844-1914. 1st ed. New York: Grolier Club

Buchanan William. J. Craig Annan : Selected Texts and Bibliography. Clio Press 1994.

N. Rosenblum, A World History of Photography, Abbeville Press, 2007, pl. 437, p. 358.

Fairfull-Smith, George. Thomas & James Craig Annan of Glasgow: Photographers and Publishers. London: Private Libraries Association, 1999.

Parr, Martin, and Gerry Badger. The Photobook: A History. London: Phaidon, 2014. p. 49