In 1865, William Mervyn Lawrence (1840-1932) opened a Photographic Studio opposite the General Post Office on Sackville (now O’Connell) Street in Dublin. Although all the photographs carry his initials, Lawrence was not the photographer but the businessman and his firm dominated the emerging photographic trade in Ireland.
From the late 1870s onwards, Lawrence dedicated a talented photographer, Robert French (1841-1917), exclusively to taking photographs of picturesque landscapes, seaside resorts, and the streets of cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland. The Lawrence Studio produced prints, stereoscopic views and lantern slides from the resulting photographs, which were also widely used in commercial advertising, tourist publications and particularly in the extensive postcard trade that Lawrence developed in the late 1890s. The photographs generally depict positive aspects of Irish life, with only a few instances of social or political conflict such as eviction scenes.
The full Lawrence collection is with the National Library of Ireland and can be viewed online via their website www.nli.ie.