A lantern slide of the Old Museum Building

Tuesday 27 February 2018

I have recently acquired five nineteenth-century lantern slides of Queensland subjects published by the Scottish firm of George Washington Wilson and Co Ltd.

My favourite is this one, of the Exhibition Buildings in Brisbane. It is the earliest good-quality photograph of the building I know of. I have just started work on updating the conservation man­age­ment plan for this building, so getting this photo is a treat.

Fred Hardie (photographer), Exhibition Buildings, Brisbane, a lantern slide produced by George Washington Wilson & Co Ltd​—​number 17 in a set of 54 slides of Queensland subjects. This image is a composite of re­flect­ive and transmissive scans, to show both the photograph and the mount.

The photo shows the building soon after it was completed for the Queensland National Agricultural and Industrial Association. The architect G H M Addison’s design is shown off, with its con­trast­ing red and cream brickwork and its striking towers and domes. I am not sure who to blame for the plain wooden sheds that contain the entry turnstiles, but I doubt these were designed by Mr Addison.

The picture was taken on a whole-plate glass negative by the Scot­tish photographer Fred Hardie, who was sent to Australia in 1892 by the G W Wilson company to record the land­scapes, in­dus­tries, towns and people of the colonies. He took pho­to­graphs in Queens­land, New South Wales, Victoria, Tas­mania and South Australia which were sold in various printed formats as well as lantern slides. I am delighted that the original negative sur­vives in the University of Aberdeen’s George Washington Wilson Collection.

filed under Collecting + Conservation + Photography

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