Early photographs of Japan in Scottish collections
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This dissertation studies Japanese photography before 1945. This field is very large; it includes photographs taken in Japan by British and other foreign visitors to Japan and Japanese images taken in Britain. Broadly speaking, the collections are mainly of Japanese photographs collected by Scottish people and held in Scottish collections and institutions. Scotland has collections of historic photographs of Japan in its museums, universities, libraries and societies. The study of these images can reveal how the British saw Japan at this time. These photographs will be investigated from various angles. These are as follows: 1. How were these collections made? - Who took the photographs and for what purpose? - Who bought or brought the photographs to Scotland and for what purpose? - The provenance of the photographs. In addition, if the photograph is of Japanese people in Britain or Scotland, why those people were in this country will be investigated. 2. How have the collections been managed? - Have the collections been used in exhibitions and are they open to the public? - If so, what kind of exhibition were they used in? - Whether the museum has particular future plans for the collection. - Conservation aspects. Researching these photographs and associated material has given valuable insights into the relationships between the two countries, especially the very early period of contacts between Scotland and Japan. At the present time, the position of early photographs is coming to a turning point. Photographs have not always been given the same value as objects in museums, in the past photographs have been seen more as visual information rather than as historic objects in their own right. However, now these early photographs are beginning to hold a special position as a record of history, as historic objects and as works of art. Researching the history and provenance of these photographs will guide us in considering the role of old photographs in the future. To progress with this research, it was vital to know the quantity and location of early Japanese photographs in the UK. In studying this subject, I made inquiries to the 34 major British museums, libraries, universities and other institutions which might have had a connection with early Japanese photograph collections. This resulted in a number of positive replies concerning a total number of photographs which could be estimated at about 2,500 to 3,000. In this thesis, because of the great number of photographs, and in order to research the relationships between Scotland and Japan in the early age of photography more deeply, I have concentrated on studying the Scottish collections. They belong to six institutions and one private owner, and in total there are 361 images. For further information, the list of institutions to which enquiries were made about early Japanese photographs collection will be included. This information is useful because it shows us just how many early Japanese photographs have been collected by British people and institutions, and are held at present.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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