David Lay is delighted to announce that the Gibson Photographic archive has been purchased by Penlee House Musuem and Gallery.
The archive is of tremendous historical value to West Penwith so this is splendid news for Penzance and the wider region as a whole.
Of course as auctioneers we relish the drama of a saleroom contest but appreciate that it was the Gibson family’s preferred outcome that the archive remain locally in a public institution where it can be seen by all rather than be bought by a private collector.

The archive contains over 1200 original photographic prints and 290 glass negative plates taken by two generations of the Gibson dynasty, John Gibson (1827-1920) and his sons Alexander (1857-1944) and Herbert (1861-1937). The subjects of the images in the archive relate predominantly to West Cornwall.

The photographic dynasty founded by John Gibson in the 1860s took some of the most remarkable and historically significant photographs of 19th and early 20th century. The vast collection of images inherited by later generations of the Gibson family has been divided into several archives. The extraordinary ‘Gibsons Shipwreck Archive’ was sold at auction in 2013 for £100,000 and bought by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. This archive contains a broad and extensive range of evocative and fascinating images of Cornwall’s past. The subjects are rich and varied; maritime, mining, village life, architecture, the working poor, every image is a delight for any historian.

Estimate: £15,000 – £25,000