The latest online exhibition from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) provides a comprehensive platform for exploring the architectural photography of Bedford Lemere & Co.
'Recording the New' is a plotted history of the establishment, rise and reputation of the photography firm between 1870 and 1930, revealing images from the photography firm's vast portfolio and snapshots of the public archive, held by English Heritage. Based on the exhibition of the same name held at the V&A in 2011, it is a glimpse into the ongoing project by English Heritage to conserve, catalogue and scan their archive of photographs and negatives- one of the largest relating to the photography firm. The aim is to make digital copies of all the images accessible online. 8,000 can already be searched through the English Heritage Archives, providing those impressed by the exhibition with a further avenue for research.
Formed towards the end of the nineteenth century by founders Bedford Lemere and son Harry, the London-based photography company documented changes to Britain as it teetered uncertainly on the brink of the twentieth century and then advanced into the new technological age. Architect clients and designers commissioned the firm to take photographs of new works from large-scale architectural works to domestic interiors and new urban developments. Today these photographs of now historic settings and features provide a visual record of our heritage. They are also key examples of the period's growing interest in the medium of photography as a means of capturing pioneering change.
GSA Library hold two collections of photographs by Bedford Lemere; one taken of Glasgow City Chambers and another of interiors designed by influential designers including Morris & Co. and Grinling Gibbons. These can be consulted in the Mackintosh Library. The Archives & Collection Centre also keep photographs taken of the Art School in 1910. For an appointment to view either item, visit the Librarians' Office on Level 1 of the Library, or see contact details for the School's archive at this link.