The S. Pearson & Son Malta albums: institutional and corporate image(s)

  • Noeme Santana (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


In 1909 the Admiral Superintendent of HM Dockyard wrote to Richard Ellis, a British-born photographer resident in Malta. Ellis, who had visually documented the construction of several dry docks, breakwaters and quarries in the Maltese islands was requested by the Admiral to print extra copies of photographs as per request of the contractors, S. Pearson & Son. Over a period of eight years beginning in 1901, Richard Ellis photographed the construction of the infrastructure built by Pearson. During his tenure Ellis produced hundreds of 8 x 10 inch photographs and panoramas to illustrate scale, progress and the logistical complexities behind such a vast operation. For the Governor of Malta and the Colonial Office, the Ellis photographs were a form of monitoring progress, however, for Pearson whose headquarters were also based in London, the Ellis photographs were a visual representative of the company's corporate image of efficiency and excellence. At the Pearson headquarters the photographs were organised by infrastructure type and compiled in to nine albums, part of the company's wider photographic collection, currently housed at the Science Museum. Based on the Malta albums in the Pearson collection, this paper will investigate the various roles played by photography in the mediation of commercial relationships, in particular between Pearson and the British Government in the early nineteenth century.

"Institutional geographies of the photograph: Aesthetics, circulation and affect" session at the International Conference of Historical Geographers
Period7 Jul 2015
Event typeOther