The Emerald Isle Album of Dublin
Posted 11 March, 2011 13:04 by Karla Baker
The Emerald Isle Album series consisted of eleven albums of photographs with descriptive text of assorted interesting places in Ireland. On the 25 June 1897 Bartholomew printed 5148 covers and maps for The Emerald Isle Album of the City & County of Dublin.
This ornate cover bespeaks of the general quality this publication aspired to. It positively oozes class. Indeed the photographs contained within were of a type known as Platinotype, or Platinum Prints, regarded as providing the greatest tonal range of any chemical photographic process. An example of one of these albums, The Emerald Isle Album of Cork, Blarney & Queenstown can be found on the Fáilte Romhat website.
Whilst the cover demonstrates Bartholomew’s deftness with colour and technique it is probably the map which attracted the publisher who commissioned the work, William Strain & Son of Belfast, to them. In true Bartholomew style a pre-existing map was repurposed for this publication, expediting the job and keeping down the cost. Indeed, the cost for printing 5148 copies of cover and map was a suprising £7,10,0 or a paltry £631 by today’s standards.
In its sepia tone it is quite an unusual look for a Bartholomew map, although it retains the clarity that you would expect to see. But there is something old-fashioned about the look and feel of these items, even though they were capturing contemporary Dublin life. Could it be that this was a conscious effort to capture for one last time a world that was rapidly drawing to a close?