About this artwork

White had a preference for landscape and architectural subjects, photographing places as far apart as St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney and Furness Abbey in north-west England. He also concentrated on the peaceful scenery surrounding the family mill on the River Don in Aberdeen. As this photograph suggests, White picked his viewpoint very carefully, framing the landscape as if it was an oil painting.

John Forbes White

John Forbes White

John Forbes White was a wealthy Aberdeen flour miller. He became interested in photography in his early twenties, learning wax paper processes from his boyhood friend and later brother-in-law, Thomas Keith. White took no more than one hundred wax paper negatives and had abandoned photography altogether by the time of his marriage in 1859. As White's wealth grew, he transferred his passion to picture collecting, purchasing his first Dutch painting at an exhibition in London in 1862, and later becoming an influential patron of contemporary Scottish art.