Auction raises £22,000 for Marzaroli archive

12 September 2019


The enormous public affection for the work of celebrated Glasgow photographer Oscar Marzaroli has helped kick-start a fundraising campaign to enable the University to make his entire photography archive available to the public.

The Marzaroli archive containing up to 50,000 images and all his photographic equipment was donated by his family to the GCU Archives last month, on the 31st anniversary of his death. An online fundraising auction of 14 Glasgow prints, all but one of which were developed by Oscar himself, has attracted international interest and helped raise £22,000 towards preserving the collection.

“We are overwhelmed by the interest Oscar’s photographs have generated in the last few days,” says GCU archivist Carole McCallum, who has blogged about the arrival of the Marzaroli collection. “Oscar had a tremendous eye for capturing people in a natural moment as they went about their day and his images clearly still provoke a strong emotional connection.”

The prints for the online auction were selected by Oscar’s daughters, who will retain a close relationship with the University Archive in the future development of their father’s collection. The auction itself was hosted by established Glasgow auctioneers, McTears, who created a wonderful shop window for the prints on their online auction site.  

Director of the Foundation, Jillian Watt, said the interest had exceeded expectations. “The auction has enabled our fundraising campaign to get off to an excellent start, with donations coming from as far afield as the United States. It has been exciting to see the interest build over the past few weeks. As well as the monetary donations, we have been inundated with messages of support reaffirming how important this collection is to Scotland and beyond. We look forward to being able to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy Oscar’s work in the future.”

Public interest in the launch was boosted by support from singer-songwriter Ricky Ross from Deacon Blue, who got to know Oscar when the band used his images on their early record covers. He helped launch the fundraising campaign to raise the £200,000 required for the work needed to preserve, catalogue and digitise the entire collection and make it freely available to view online. The volume of public interest and the £22,000 raised has created a promising platform for the range of initiatives which will now go ahead to secure the rest of the funding.  To find out more about the campaign and the collection, contact the GCU Foundation and the GCU Archive Centre