Capturing the story of Father Frank Browne

Scéal Heritage was delighted to be awarded the contract for the project role of Exhibition Researcher & Curator for compilation of an exciting new permanent exhibition on the life and works of Fr. Frank Browne at Emo Court, Co. Laois.

Scéal will be working closely with the OPW Historic Properties Team on this project, and looks forward to creating an exhibition which captures and commemorates the story of a unique and prolific photographer of the twentieth century.

Fr. Browne was one of Ireland’s greatest documentary photographers, recording thousands of images of the people and places of Ireland which today provide an important visual history of Ireland in the twentieth century. As a Jesuit priest, he spent twenty-eight years at the then Jesuit novitiate at Emo Court, a large neo-classical mansion in Co. Laois, which held his homemade photo laboratory where he processed some of the 42,000 photographs which he took throughout his life.

Fr. Browne first achieved fame for his photographs of the Titanic, which he captured while on a first class ticket from Southampton to Queenstown (Cobh) in 1912. In 1915, he became a World War I chaplain to the Irish Guards fighting in France and Southern Belgium, and used his photography skills to visually document this experience. As well as thousands of photographs taken of people, events, transport, and monuments across Ireland and Britain, he also photographed several Australian subjects during the two years he spent there in the years after the war.

Fr. Browne camera image is courtesy of Emo Court, Laois