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James Good Tunny - photographs of Edinburgh

James Good Tunny - photographs of Edinburgh
James Good Tunny - photographs of Edinburgh
James Good Tunny was born in Edinburgh on 8 April 1820. His parents were Neil Tunny, an Irish immigrant and Catherine Tunny (nee Good).

His father was a shoemaker and Tunny followed him in this career until around 1852 when he opened his first photography studio at 78 South Clerk Street. Tunny’s work began to appear in exhibitions soon after his first studio opened, including the Photographic Society of Scotland from 1856-1864 and the Photographic Society, London in 1874 and 1875.

He continued successfully in the Southside of Edinburgh, but with photography becoming more popular and competition increasing he decided to relocate to the centre of the city and opened a studio at 93 Princes Street where the business enjoyed continued success. He later returned to the Southside where he set up studios over the years at 6 West Newington Place and 102 South Bridge. He still had the studio in Princes Street, but when it was acquired by an insurance office, he sought to look for new premises. Shortly after returning from a six month photographic tour of the U.S.A. in 1882, Tunny purchased a large house in Shandwick Place, demolished it and built a large 4 story building which housed an exhibition room, a studio, a gallery and a dark room.

Tunny was a member of the Edinburgh Photographic Society, and he gave many lectures over a period of almost twenty years.

Photographs by Tunny can be found in several collections. The National Galleries of Scotland have over thirty photographs by Tunny in their collection at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery mainly featuring portraits, and The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, has an album of photographs by Tunny, including many portraits of artists.

The images we're highlighting here from our collections show various city street scenes of Victorian Edinburgh captured in the early days of photography.

Tunny died on 24th September 1887 at his home at 11 Salisbury Place aged 67 years and is buried in Warriston Cemetery.