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Wilson, George Washington

Wilson, George Washington
Wilson, George Washington
Wilson, George Washington
Wilson, George Washington
About the Artist
Wilson, George Washington
Biography
Scottish photographer and painter. He served an apprenticeship as a carpenter but decided to become a painter and trained at art schools in Edinburgh and London. After several years as a drawing-master in Aberdeen, he joined the photographic business of John Hay jr in 1853. In 1855 Wilson opened his own photographic studio in Aberdeen. By the 1860s it was one of the most prolific and successful photographic businesses in Scotland. He won international acclaim as a landscape photographer and was particularly famed for his instantaneous photographs such as View in Leith Docks (undated albumen print; Edinburgh, N.P.G.), which makes telling use of contre-jour effects in the silhouetting of ships' masts against the sky. He received royal patronage, becoming photographer to Queen Victoria in Scotland. At the International Exhibition of 1862, Wilson was awarded a medal for the beauty of his small pictures of clouds, shipping, waves etc. from nature. From 1876 he relied on assistant photographers to provide new negatives, employing a large staff of photographers and studio assistants, and by the 1880s Wilson was running the world's largest photographic printing establishment at St Swithin, Aberdeen. The initials "GWW" appear on all of the photographs produced by the Wilson firm, which was taken over by his sons after his death, but do not indicate that Wilson was himself the photographer in every case. The firm's output of albumen prints from wet collodion negatives was generally of a technically high standard. Mass-produced, picturesque views such as Tighnalechan, Aberfeldy (albumen print; Edinburgh, N.P.G.) were the precursors of the picture postcard and served much the same purpose.
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