The Kirk Plates
William Kirk rivalled any photographer of his era in Cowes, alongside Beken, West, and Sydenhams. Many of his glass plates found their way into curious situations including, allegedly, mending a local householder’s greenhouse. Those in the Gallery, though, were the gift of a generous Cowes benefactor and number about 150. There are excellent shots of the large racing craft of the time, most still to be identified, but also numerous photos of the cadets at Osborne House when, until 1912, it was a Naval College - their year groups, sports teams, and other Osborne activities. All have been scanned and the glass plate technology retains amazing clarity a century later.