About this artwork

The rise of tourism as a popular pastime in the nineteenth century and Sir Walter Scott’s novels about the romantic past of Scotland generated a public interest in Highland scenery for which the photographic industry readily catered. The Aberdeen-based photographer, George Washington Wilson, had an acute sense of what constituted a popular view. He took enormous care in finding and composing self-contained scenes and it was the originality of his imagery, capturing effects of nature never seen before, that so fascinated his contemporaries.

George Washington Wilson

George Washington Wilson

A hugely successful businessman, George Washington Wilson had left home at twelve to be a carpenter and subsequently trained as a portrait painter before turning to photography in 1853. By the 1860s he owned printing works in Aberdeen that produced thousands of prints with views from all over Britain every year. Later his catalogue grew to include pictures from the Continent and the rest of the world. One of his first clients was Prince Albert who asked him to photograph the rebuilding of Balmoral Castle. Queen Victoria continued to commission work from Wilson after her husband's death.