The Glass Plate Negatives

We have just completed digitisation of the glass plate negatives from Batch Six, after preparation by the John Rylands Collection Care team. The plates were a mix of size and subject matter, ranging from 6x9cm to 10x12in, while the contents ranged from the formal to the informal; from snapshots to precisely posed.



A small selection is included below. The digitised negatives are inverted using our digital capture software in order to create the positive image. The negative image appears as below:


Many of the plates were an early endeavor to photographically record the Newman Archive, meaning that we found ourselves digitising glass plates of letters we most probably photographed in their original format earlier in the project! It is safe to say the digitisation process has improved over the years; as you can see below, drawing pins were used.



Not all attempts were successful, as seen below, flare on paintings can always be an issue:


And we wouldn’t dream of mounting tapestries to a fence or shed wall!


Also included were some exterior shots of the Oratory, and documentation of special events;





Below is a Magic Lantern Slide, a transparent positive image which would be used in a projector.


A 10×12 glass plate documenting Cardinal Newman’s room. This could be of interest to conservation staff who are currently developing a long term preservation strategy for the room, as certain elements have suffered damage over the years.


Working with these plates has certainly been a welcome break from two years of document digitisation, however now the work is complete we are back to the usual content.

2 thoughts on “The Glass Plate Negatives

  1. Brilliant, Tony! Thanks for posting the update. I am ever so grateful that the Cardinal’s archive is in the hands of CHICC!

  2. Reblogged this on CHICC Manchester and commented:
    The Newman digitisation project is progressing at a fantastic pace. We are well over 145 boxes in, with image totals reaching over 125,000 so far.

    We have recently digitised a wonderful set of glass plate negatives from the collections. These include early copies of Newman letters, portraits of Newman himself, and ‘snaps’ from around the oratory. There is a wonderful box of 10x12in plates that document Newman’s room at the Oratory, showing exactly how he left it.

    The room is exactly the same today, so the negatives are a fantastic resource to show what has changed in condition over the years.

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