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Scotland’s Photograph Album : The MacKinnon Collection


An exceptional collection of historic photographs that captures a century of life in Scotland will be showcased in a special exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) in collaboration with the National Library of Scotland this autumn, with a plan to tour the collection to three venues around Scotland in 2020/21.

Acquired jointly with assistance from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scottish Government and Art Fund, Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection celebrates Scottish life and identity from the 1840s through to the 1940s. The collection, which was acquired by photography enthusiast Murray MacKinnon, began when he ran a successful chain of film-processing stores in the 1980s, starting from his pharmacy in Dyce, near Aberdeen.

Showcasing a century of dramatic transformation and innovation, the exhibition features more than 100 selected images from MacKinnon’s collection which brilliantly transports the audience back to a period of changing rural communities, growing cities and enduring historic sites.

The chronicle of Scotland’s culture during the mid-19th to early 20th centuries is inseparable from its leading role in the early history of photography itself. Many of the first practitioners and visionaries who pushed the medium forward were based in Scotland or were inspired by Scottish subjects. The exhibition includes photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Thomas Annan, Roger Fenton, George Washington Wilson, and others who created stunning images of Scotland’s people and places and established precedents for photographers worldwide.

National Galleries of Scotland, Director General Sir John Leighton, said: “Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection allows audiences the chance to be transported back to a century of change and growth. It is not only a fascinating look at historical Scottish life that sits just on the edge of living memory, but also an important showcase of the innovative progression of photography in Scotland.”


 Scotland’s Photograph Album : The MacKinnon Collection

16 November 2019 – 16 February 2020

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD

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