SLIDESHOW: Rare photos among hundreds sent to Leeds exhibition

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Cherished family photos taken more than 130 years ago in Leeds will be part of a new exhibition celebrating the city’s faces through the ages.

The rare opalotypes - an early form of photography using opal glass plates - were taken by photographers Brown, Barnes and Bell, listed as at 1A Commercial Street, between 1880 and 1886.

Historic gift: Robert Veale with Kitty Ross, curator of social history at Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Historic gift: Robert Veale with Kitty Ross, curator of social history at Leeds Museums and Galleries.

They were donated to the Changing Faces of Leeds exhibition at Leeds City Museum, by Robert Veale, 69, who wanted to find them a good home.

They depict his great grandfather Bartolozzi Veale, who lived in Headingley, and his wife Annie, a relative of the 1930s actor and impresario George Arliss.

Robert, who travelled from his home in Dorset to donate the pictures, said: “I wanted these pictures to go somewhere they would be seen and appreciated, so I’m delighted they’ll be on display in Leeds, where four generations of my family lived.”

He added: “In their day, these opalotypes were the latest innovation and I’ve often thought the best place for them would be in a museum like Leeds. I hope people will find them interesting and I think this exhibition is a wonderful idea.”

Robert’s photos are among 550 submitted to the exhibition which saw the museum hold a competition encouraging local amateur snappers to submit their best selfies, mobile phone pictures and professional shots. The winning entries will be announced in a few weeks and displayed alongside portraits of some of the people from Leeds’ past in the exhibition, which opens early next year.

Coun Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said: “The response to the Changing Faces of Leeds competition has been amazing and it shows just how much enthusiasm people in Leeds have for capturing their local history and telling the story of the city.

“Putting rare antique photos on display alongside the latest selfies and mobile phone pictures from today will really show how photography has evolved over the decades as well as how the people of Leeds have changed too.”

For more information about the Changing Faces of Leeds exhibition, visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/facesofleeds.

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