Photographic glass plate used by earlier photographers.

Before modern photographic slides, negatives and prints, photographers had to record their images on glass plates. They were commonly used from about the 1850’s to the 1920’s. Glass plates were introduced to Graaff-Reinet when William Roe established his studio in the late 1860’s. The Graaff-Reinet Museum holds two collections of glass plates – the William Roe Collection (1138 plates) and the recently donated Whitlock Collection (565 plates). The images are now all digitised to allow visitors to view the collections without handling the highly fragile glass plates. Most of these glass plates are studio images of family groups and wedding couples. The nature of the glass plates does not allow for annotations on their backs which led to the loss of most of the metadata such as names and dates. (129 words)