Robert Meldrum

Robert Meldrum

Photograph taken in 1898

Printed (Druck) by: Georg Büxenstein & Comp.

In an interesting coincidence, this is the second portrait of a blind person to appear in Die Kunst in der Photographie for 1900. (see also Aura Hertwig: Die Blinde) Annan later photographed “A Blind Musician-Granada, 1914” published as a photogravure in Camera Work XLV, 1914.  The device of incorporating lettering into the plate (see Annan’s portrait of Janet Burnet) inspired by Holbein’s miniatures is also used here for the Meldrum portrait.

In 1883, Robert Meldrum, himself blind, wrote the book:  Light on Dark Paths, subtitled:  “A Handbook for The Parents of Blind Children, The Missionary Teacher, The District Visitor, and all who seek in any way to be eyes to the blind.”  Meldrum, described on the title page to the first edition as being “Fifteen Years Missionary Teacher of Blind”, is described more fully in the 1891 second edition of the volume. In a press review reprinted commenting on the first edition by the Scottish Orcadian newspaper in 1889:

Light on Dark Paths is the attractive title of an interesting and useful book, written by Mr. R. Meldrum, Missionary Teacher of the Blind, Aberdeen.  This book is worth reading by every one who has a heart to feel for the sorrows of others, especially for the many thousands in our land who from birth, by disease or accident, are blind.  The book is specially designed as a guide to those who would teach any blind person to read, write, or cipher.  Mr. Meldrum is thoroughly qualified to act as instructor, as he has had many years’ experience, and has been more than ordinarily successful.  He delights in his work and interests others in it, having the rare gift of communicating his information in a lucid and attractive manner.  His aim has been to put his readers in possession of the most important information on the subject.  He is most careful in disclaiming originality, he has gathered from various sources, and has judiciously given praise to whom praise is due.  The author has originality, and has gained a prize that any man might covet.  He has invented a method by which letters can be written to the blind and read by them without the intervention of a third person.  For this he received the Keith Medal, and a piece of Plate from the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, Edinburgh.” 1.

1. Press review: The Orcadian: Orkney: October 6th, 1889

Robert Meldrum

Image Dimensions20.4 x 9.3 cm : Art folio #5, plate #4