Exhibition celebrating work of 19th century photographer to open in Derry

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An exhibition celebrating the work of 19th century Derry photographer James Glass will be launched tomorrow at the Tower Museum.

Glass who was the leading portrait and landscape photographer in the North West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

However, “it is for an album of extraordinary landscape photographs” that he is remembered today.

Mayor Colr Martin Reilly said he was delighted the city was playing host to an exhibition that celebrates the work of a local photographer.

“I am delighted that the Council’s Heritage and Museum Service is showcasing local talent and allowing people from the city to experience some of these unique pieces of work. I would encourage the public to avail of the opportunity to come to the Tower Museum and see this exhibition.”

Bernadette Walsh, archivist with the Council’s Heritage and Museum Services said: “James Glass established his first business as a portrait and landscape photographer in Derry city in 1875 at 65 Carlisle Road - ‘Glass‘ New Photographic Studio’ - and by the 1890s he had several studios in the city.

A pop-up installation is currently located on Carlisle Road showing some of the images produced by Glass.

“As with most nineteenth century commercial photographers his specialty was portraits but he also undertook outdoor photography, specialising in enlargements “finished superbly in crayon, oil and watercolour”, and photographic transfers on porcelain. “

Glass is often remembered for a unique series of photographs of the Gweedore and Cloughaneely areas, taken in the late nineteenth century.

These photographs which have not been on display since they were first taken, are connected to the famous 1889 “Land War” trial of Fr McFadden and some of his parishioners following the killing of District Inspector Martin in Gweedore, Co. Donegal.

It is believed that James Glass was commissioned by the defence to take a series photographs depicting tenant life in Gweedore. These photographs subsequently became known as the Glass Album.

This was the first use of photographs as evidence in an Irish court. There are two known copies of the Album – one in the collections of the National Museums of Northern Ireland, the other, belonging to a private collection, which on display for the first time in this exhibition,

The exhibition will be launched on Thursday at the Tower Museum at 7pm and will be open to the public until October 26.

Admission is free.