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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Thomas Mackinlay

Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Thomas Mackinlay
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Giving addresses in Paisley and Edinburgh, Mackinlay exhibited a mixture of collodion and calotype work in the 1858 exhibition of the Photographic Society of Scotland, his only known public showing. Two possible candidates for the photographer emerge from the 1861 census. One was a Renfrewshire native, born in 1834, who lodged in Edinburgh and listed himself as an “Artist, painting.” The other contender, born the year before, was an investor in Anstruther, Fife. While the artist might appear to be the more obvious choice, the exhibitor’s calotypes were all taken in Crail, a village very near Anstruther. Two of Mackinlay’s calotypes were of the wreck of the Queen, a steamer that crashed into North Carr Rock in the North Sea in the early morning of April 19, 1857. Filling rapidly with water, she made for the lights of Crail Harbour, but it was low tide and she struck a sandbar four hundred yards offshore. Mackinlay would have had a relatively short period to calotype the wreck, which was sold on May 26. A Fife resident would have been well placed to capture the wreck of the Queen with his camera. 
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
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