About this artwork

James Craig Annan was the son of the Glasgow photographer, Thomas Annan. After studying chemistry, he joined the family firm. In 1883 he travelled to Vienna to learn the photogravure process from the inventor, Karl Klic. Working mainly in photogravure and platinum printing, he produced images of great subtlety and variety. He had a particular influence on North American photography through Alfred Stieglitz who exhibited and published his work in New York. He also renewed public interest in the work of Hill and Adamson by producing exquisite photogravures from their calotype negatives. This simple portrait by a close friend suggests an artist who 'did what seemed to be the most beautiful and most natural thing' at any one moment.

William Strang

William Strang

Born in Dumbarton, William Strang was briefly a clerk in the family shipbuilding firm before he entered the Slade School of Art in London in 1876. At the Slade he was deeply influenced by the teaching of Alphonse Legros, particularly the etching class which Legros instituted in 1877. The subject matter of Strang's etchings, largely produced between 1880 and 1900, ranges from intense portraits to scenes of working class life and imaginary grotesques. By the turn of the century, Strang was developing the symbolic themes of his printed work in oil paintings, using rich colours in a style ultimately influenced by Venetian art.