About this artwork

This small sketch in oils depicts the painter and pioneer photographer George Washington Wilson. Born near Banff, Aberdeenshire, Wilson studied art in Edinburgh, London and Paris. He first worked as a painter of portrait miniatures but soon learned about the recently invented calotype photographic process. In 1852 he set up a portrait photography studio in Aberdeen, which became hugely successful. His portable darkroom also allowed him to take landscape photographs around the country and overseas. By the 1880s, his firm was one of the largest and most famous photographic publishers worldwide. Its vast collection of glass negatives are now held by the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums. The latter also hold the finished portrait for which this sketch was made.

  • title: George Washington Wilson, 1823 - 1893. Commercial photographer
  • accession number: PG 2956
  • artist: Sir George ReidScottish (1841 - 1913)
  • depicted: George Washington Wilson
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • medium: Oil on board
  • date created: About 1879
  • measurements: 18.00 x 12.00 cm (framed: 31.00 x 26.00 x 5.00 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1994
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Sir George Reid

Sir George Reid

Reid was born in Aberdeen and worked first as a lithographer before moving to Edinburgh in 1862 to study at the Trustees' Academy. In 1866, supported by the Aberdeen collector, John Forbes White, he went to Holland to study under the landscape and genre painter, Gerrit Mollinger. He became a close friend of Jozef Israels. He returned to Scotland in 1869, producing landscapes and portraits influenced by both Dutch and French contemporary painting. He was elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1891 and knighted in 1902.