Auto-Memento: Stickyback Photography + The Family Museum Archive


Swindon Museum & Art Gallery

Our debut exhibition at Swindon Museum & Art Gallery was a hit. Almost 3,000 visitors attended the show, many of whom commented that after viewing the show they were inspired to get out their family albums currently hidden deep in their loft or under the bed. We were interviewed by two local radio stations, BBC Wiltshire and Swindon 105.5, at the launch of the show, and enjoyed talking to local journalists about our collection of Swindon ‘Stickyback’ photographs and The Family Musuem project.

Stickybacks were a type of popular Edwardian portrait taken in itinerant studios
in towns and cities across the UK from the turn of the 20th century up to WWI. Pop-ups of their day, these studios were run mostly by self-taught photographers who produced a series of strikingly candid and modern portraits of their customers in strips of six small images with a gummed back, hence the name ‘Stickyback’. 

Auto-Memento featured a set of 72 of these photographs taken in a studio located at 15 Regent Street, Swindon, sometime between 1906 and 1912. Many of the subjects returned to the studio several times to have their photo taken, including the young teenage girl shown here. The exhibition was also the official launch of The Family Museum project and featured a selection of photographs, albums, vintage cameras and photographic ephemera charting the rise of amateur photography across the 19th and 20th centuries.

Take a video tour of the exhibition here and watch this space for news of future Family Museum events and happenings…

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