William John Macquorn Rankine, C.E., LL.D., Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics Annan, Thomas  (Scottish, 1829-1887)

The only major work by Thomas Annan that illustrates both his mastery of architectural and portrait photography. The photographs of the University of Glasgow generally show the complex of buildings of the University which had been left stranded in the midst of the slums as the city had moved west – the slums that were so startlingly photographed by Annan a few years earlier in his groundbreaking Old Streets and Closes. When an offer came from the North British Railway to purchase the site of the University of Glasgow and fund a new university in the West End the venerable, but inadequate buildings, were doomed. On 28th July 1870, the Senate of the University of Glasgow met for the last time in the Old College Buildings to confer degrees to outgoing students. The following year the ceremony was moved to the New Buildings. Annan conceived the present volume as a memorial to the 450-year history of the University and as a record of the ‘venerable structure before it underwent any change.’ Consequently he here presents 15 interior and external views of the buildings with various aspects of the Inner and Outer Courts, the Professor’s Court and the Hunterian Museum. Annan added 26 portrait photographs of members of the Senate at the time of the removal to the New Buildings. The volume was published as albumen prints and carbon prints. (The Truthful Lens, 3)


Maddox, Amanda, Sara Stevenson, and Thomas Annan. Thomas Annan: Photographer of Glasgow. , 2017.

Goldschmidt, Lucien, and Weston J. Naef. The Truthful Lens: A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book, 1844-1914. New York: The Grolier club, 1980. no. 121

Gossman, Lionel. Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2015 5:12

Stevenson, Sara. Thomas Annan, 1829-1887. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 1990.

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