About this artwork

In the wake of the Great Exhibition organised by Prince Albert in London in 1851, both Europe and America put on a series of splendid exhibitions to celebrate and promote culture and industry. This photograph shows the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the arrival in Edinburgh of Gladstone (the Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party) for the official opening of the 1884 exhibition. The little railway carriage, made by John Hislop and Son of Edinburgh and named 'Alexandra', advertises the excellence of the workshop and, in the midst of this solemn gathering, looks like a pretty toy.

John Moffat

John Moffat

John Moffat's family moved from Aberdeen to Edinburgh when he was seven years old. His first business dealt in engraved and chalk/crayon portraits. In 1853 he set up his photographic studio in Princes Street where it remained for more than a hundred years. He was principally a portrait photographer, but he also produced stereoscopic photographs. Apart from being a successful businessman, he was also an amateur painter and musician and had eight children, of whom several were as multi-talented as their father.