Monument in Glasgow Necropolis to John Henry Alexander, d. 1851, sculpted by Alexander Handyside Ritchie
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Monument in Glasgow Necropolis to John Henry Alexander, d. 1851, sculpted by Alexander Handyside Ritchie about 1852
  • Scottish Art
This calotype by John Muir Wood was taken at Glasgow Necropolis and shows the monument to actor and theatre owner John Henry Alexander. Under the direction of Alexander, the Theatre Royal on Dunlop Street became Glasgow’s premier theatre. In 1849, however, the building caught fire during a show and sixty-five customers died. Alexander was said never to have recovered from the shock and died not long afterwards. This monument was designed by James Hamilton and carved by the well-known Scottish sculptor Handyside Ritchie. The front section represents a theatre stage with curtains and footlights. The figures on either side personify tragedy and comedy and the laurel wreath that is lowered onto the stage reminds the viewer of Alexander’s final curtain call.

Glossary Open

Calotype

The first effective version of photography, using drawing or writing paper for both the negative and the positive. The paper was sensitised with potassium iodide and silver nitrate, exposed and developed in gallic acid and silver nitrate.

Calotype

Details

  • Acc. No. PGP W 64
  • Medium Albumenised salt paper print from a calotype negative
  • Size 18.80 x 23.10 cm
  • Credit Sir Alan Muir Wood Collection, presented 1985