Abernethy, Aberargie and Dron News

Last date for submissions

31st October 2022

Date of publication

1st December 2022


In 1851 the famous photographer Frederick Scott Archer was cold-called at his home by an itinerant Daguerreotype photographer, John Beattie of Kilnockie, Abernethy, to whom he happily taught the art of wet plate photography. Beattie was quite an interesting character: he had lectured in ‘phrenology and electricity’ before taking up photography as a trade in 1851. After several years tramping, what he claimed was ‘the largest portable camera rooms in England’ around England’s eastern counties, Beattie set up a grand studio in Clifton a suburb of Bristol, where he described himself as ‘The Eminent Portrait Artist of Clifton’. He retired comfortably in 1869 having invested his earnings in property. Alongside his very successful photographic business activities, Beattie dabbled in spiritualism and ‘Spirit and Fairy’ photography.