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Orkney Library @OrkneyLibrary
, 5 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Every day in our Photographic Archives the staff are working with old photographs, making prints and copies from old negatives. But yesterday they printed something amazing.
This is a print of Dr William Balfour Baikie who was born in Kirkwall in 1825. He was a naval surgeon and explorer and this photograph was taken just before he left for his first expedition to West Africa to explore the River Niger.
The photographer is unknown but the print was made from an ambrotype which was an early type of photograph produced on a glass plate. A negative image was created that becomes positive when laid on a black background. This portrait was taken in 1854.

That's 164 years ago.
In 1854 photography was in its infancy and this is one of the earliest images in our archive. At the time this glass plate was produced Queen Victoria was only 17 years into her 63-year reign. It was the time of the Crimean War. The year Oscar Wilde was born.
The glass plate is not a copy. It is the actual plate produced by the photographer 164 years ago and now stored safely in our archives. This print was made from it yesterday morning.

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