Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles, photo-journalist: papers

Scope and Content

Family papers and correspondence, 1898-1994; papers relating to Riposo Nature Cure and Country Club, 1910-1972; publications, 1895-1976; photographic material, undated; material relating to the Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles exhibition, Ostend, ca. 2004

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1871 in Rotterdam, the son of a retired Scottish wool manufacturer, Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles grew up in Weisbaden, Germany. After a brief time at the Royal Military College Sandhurst, he studied photo chemistry in Freiburg, Berlin and Vienna before settling in Berlin.

Pitcairn-Knowles was a keen sportsman, and founded many sporting clubs, among them Berlin Academic Sports Club, the Anglo American Club, Berlin Skating Club, Berlin Golf Club, Berlin Lawn Tennis Club, and Berlin Hockey and Bicycle Polo Club. His interest in sport led him to launch the journal Sport im Bild in 1895 and he went on to edit and contribute articles and photographs to other magazines and journals.

After leaving Germany, he settled for a while in Jersey, where he grew potatoes and tomatoes, before moving first to Paris and then to Brussels. It was around this time that he began his photographic expeditions, during which he photographed a huge variety of subjects, from goats in Corsica to cod liver oil. The glass negatives showing the results of these expeditions can be found in this archive. These photographs appeared in many journals, including Wide World Magazine, Outing, Badminton Magazine, and Illustrated News.

Just before the outbreak of World War I, Pitcairn-Knowles acquired property in Hastings on the south coast of England. He had become interested in naturopathy after it had been used to successfully treat both himself and his son, Gordon's, illnesses. This interest grew and Pitcairn-Knowles decided to forge a career in this field. He opened Riposo Nature Cure and Country Club in Hastings in July 1913. He died in 1956.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Study Rooms by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Richard Pitcairn-Knowles, 2004.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Related Material

The photographs collection in the V&A's Word & Image Department holds ca. 300 vintage prints by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles, as well as a number of modern prints taken from his negatives.

Geographical Names