Photography vs Art


I came across this in the Bodleian Library today:


It is ‘Welch’s Album of Portsmouth and Southsea Views’, printed in Germany, and sold by R. and W. Welch, booksellers, of the Arcade, Landport.

Inside, there is a concertina of images, including this one of Southsea castle

P1040538 copy

And this view of The Govenor’s House – the building was a casualty of bombing during WWII:

P1040528 copy

What’s odd about these images is that they are not photographs, but drawings OF photographs, and at quite a late date, too – the images post-date the building of the Town Hall (1890), but pre-date the breaking up of HMS Euphrates in 1895:

P1040532 copy

Why create a drawing instead of reproducing the photograph? One answer may be that the images were being modified, perhaps to make them more ‘artistic’. Compare, for example, the drawing on the left of the Floating Bridge with the original on the right:

P1040531 copychain-ferry-plus-hms-victory-in-harbour


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About Archaeology Archives Administrator

Researchers in the archives of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. Home of the Historic Environment Image Resource. Passionate about old photographs and fresh biscuits.
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