About this artwork

Wilson was not alone among his contemporaries to produce extensive series of photographs of the Hebrides. His work was different in that it showed the native landscape and its inhabitants without the romanticising tendencies of the Victorian era. Here we see two young women on Skye trampling clothes in a tub, while another two are wringing a big sheet or a blanket. The iron pot on the left would have had fire built under it for a supply of hot water. The stony ground is typical of the Western Isles.

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.