| || |
[Die Kunst in der Photographie (Art Folio #5)]
11.1 x 8.4 cm
Photograph courtesy PhotoSeed.com
Heliographed (Plate) & Printed by: Meisenbach, Riffarth & Co. (Berlin)
This plate has the distinction of being the smallest reproduced photogravure of all the 356 in the run of this publication: 1897-1908.
The most comprehensive material on Crooke and Edinburgh photographers can be found at the web site EdinPhoto run by Peter Stubbs (http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/).
William Crooke won many medals for his photography around the world and he used this as a source of advertising, typical of the period. One of the medals won was at Paris in 1897 according to the EdinPhoto site. This photograph of an unknown woman of high society may have won this medal at the 1897 Paris Salon since it was reproduced in the portfolio catalogue.
Here are some comments on Crooke's studio (located at 103 Princes Street in Edinburgh) published in the 1892 edition of the Practical Photographer:
William Crooke was described by the correspondent as "The Boss of the Walk" (the Walk being Princes Street). He wrote:
"Taking a stroll west the other day we observed a magnificent carved doorway being erected in connection with Mr Crooke's studio. It has a glass domed top and glass panels and the name 'Crooke' in embossed brass on the lower panel. The whole affair is most artistic in taste and very pleasing to the eye; as usual, the work exhibited is tip top."
Later, in the April 14th, 1911 issue of the British Journal of Photography, some more observations of Crooke's studio were printed: "The studio is situated in Princes Street. From the windows of the Reception Room, a beautiful view is obtained of Edinburgh Castle, that "'dream of masonry and living rock' and across the Princes Street Gardens to where the smoky homes of the Old Town look down on the magnificent thoroughfare of the Northern capital.
The studios leading off the reception rooms are spacious and convenient, and contain many original features that owe their origin to Mr Crooke's experience and artistic taste.
On the walls we see prints that have done their part in maintaining the Crooke fame. There is a majesty about all the pictures from these studios that is so prevailing that it might well be termed the dominant note in the scheme of Crooke's harmony.
Even childhood, when photographed by Mr Crooke, assumes an aristocratic miein; one can hardly imagine him photographing a slum child and retaining the slum atmosphere. "
Source for both excerpts:
Crooke was almost 80 when he died, having been born in Ireland. He died on August 23rd, 1928: In his obituary printed in the British Journal of Photography (August 31, 1928: page #532) it states:
"His portraiture exhibited a characteristic conservatism. He would not employ any process that would not stand the test of time, and thus used platinotype and carbon only, printing by contact from negatives taken direct upon large plates. His awards for portraiture gained at important exhibitions amounted, it is believed, to a greater number than can be credited ot any other photographer of his time."
Source: EdinPhoto - The History of Photography in Edinburgh by Peter Stubbs