Father Browne Defamation Anonymity and Some Missing Photographs

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Inger Sheil

Feb 9, 1999
I've finally had the opportunity to start reviewing some of the wealth of new data that has been posted recently on the ET main site, both the self-loaded updates and the latest research articles. One piece that stood out is Senan Molony's new article on Father Browne's photographs.


Given how often we reference Browne's work in discussions on this board, this new background to the story of how he came to be aboard to take the photographs is absolutely fascinating. Senan Molony has been well-placed to conduct the necessary research, and his work with the photographs in the past has produced excellent results in some of his published work. He has a remarkable affinity with both Browne and his art - on a couple of visits to Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery to visit Michael Collins and other figures in Irish history, Senan has always made sure he takes me via the memorial that names Francis Browne.

The opening scenes of Bishop Browne's libel case are an intriguing window into the vicious sectarian politics practiced in the Home Rule debates. The defence team's best excuse was that the baseless accusations were 'political' in nature, and no attempt was even made to support their veracity. That the libel should centre around events in Queenstown (Cobh) is an interesting element as well. It was against this sort of background of propoganda and suspicion that Eugene Daly played his nationalist airs!

The anonymous Cork Constitution article, published before the disaster and for which Senan argues well for an identification of the writer as Browne himself, is more good material. As the article's title suggests, many factors hint at the exceedingly tantalising possibility that there may be (or may once have been) more Browne photographs out there...possibily even more interior shots.

With sidelights on Browne and wireless technology, the Home Rule debate, biographical background and a bit of mystery thrown in, it's a rich vein indeed that Molony has tapped in his article!
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
I read this article several days ago myself. It was interesting to see how seemingly unrelated events link up with some that the members of this forum have an interest in. For want of the games being played in the day and the suit they led to, we would not have Fr. Brown taking passage on a ship to Queenstown and the photographic record of everyday life on the Titanic that we have today.

Senan is very good at finding these connections too. I wonder about the possibility of more interior shots as well. If they still exist, I hope that one day, they'll see daylight.
Jan 7, 2002
There at least 2 Father Brown photos on Titanic that are double exposures...

The photos of the couple by the aft portside crane on the boat deck (with a ghostly image of the Cardeza promenade)
as well as the marconi room.

Has anyone tried to seperate the exposures, and through some computer wizardry, develop 2 pictures of the wireless room, and recover a picture of the Cardeza promenade?
Nov 2, 2000
Excellent artical! I'm not knowledgable at all about photography especially early 20th century photography. But, does anyone know why in the picture of the Titanic with the aerial wires prominant, the wires that extend from the fore funnel to the bridge and also from the fore funnel to the bow and aft funnel to the stern can not be seen at all. I imagine it's a lighting problem, but it seems odd.

Michael Koch

Lynda Franklin

I just finished reading Senan's work on Father Browne photo's as with all the works he has done that I have been reading today.They are provoking,insightful and always a history lesson of well done research.The catholic-protestant bits gave me as a catholic,how strongly religious views were then.
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