10.7 Early photography and art

Photograph taken by Erskine Beveridge in 1882 showing St Moluag’s Cathedral, Lismore ©HES

The invention of photography is probably one of the most significant contributions to archaeology in the 19th century. The leading exponent working in Argyll was Erskine Beveridge (1851-1920). He travelled on the west coast of Scotland (including Coll, Tiree, Lismore, Staffa and Iona) in 1882 and 1883 photographing harbours, townships, cottages, hotels, lighthouses, fishing boats, bridges and churches (Beveridge 1903). His photographs, along with many other photographers, are held in the National Monuments Record of Scotland (NMRS; Fergusson 2009). Other visual forms such as etchings and paintings are useful, although ‘poetic license’ might have resulted in exaggerated scale and perspective in order to render an impressively picturesque landscape.