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Close, No. 46 Saltmarket, from Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow

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Close, No. 46 Saltmarket, from Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow 1868 - 1871

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
In 1868 the City of Glasgow commissioned Thomas Annan to photograph the run-down buildings and closes of the old town before their destruction in a large urban improvement scheme. It was a difficult task, because light levels in these built-up, overcrowded slums were very low. Hence exposure times had to be increased, which made it harder to create sharp, well-defined images. In this photograph, many of the carefully grouped and positioned children appear blurred as they will have moved while the photograph was taken. However, the boy with his hands on his hips stands out from the rest. His strong, clear-cut figure appears to challenge his squalid surroundings and gives the viewer a sense of hope and indestructibility.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


The length of time a photosensitive surface is exposed to light. The term ‘multiple exposure’ is used to describe the act of recording more than one image on a single sheet or frame of film.

Commission, Exposure


  • Acc. No. PGP 185.22
  • Medium Albumen print from wet collodion negative
  • Size 28.00 x 22.70 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1986