About this artwork

This photograph was originally conceived by Queen Victoria as a tribute to her late husband, Prince Albert, taken on the second anniversary of her last 'Great Expedition' with him into the Highlands. G.W.Wilson subsequently gained permission to distribute it as a carte de visite, cropping out another figure to focus attention on the mourning Queen's relationship with her faithful servant, John Brown. In its first year of publication, this and a few similar images sold near 13,000 copies, their popularity doubtless heightened by the rumour-mongers who referred to the Queen as 'Mrs Brown'.

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.