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Treasure 109: George Washington Wilson Portraits
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Treasure 109: George Washington Wilson Portraits

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 109: George Washington Wilson Portraits
Historic Documents
Treasure 109: George Washington Wilson Portraits
This month we look at some of George Washington Wilson's work as a portrait photographer and especially the creation of photomontages selected from the large collection of images he had taken of men from the city and surrounding area who were leading figures in business, industry, law, education, and the church.

Wilson, encouraged by his friend George Walker of the firm of A. Brown & Co, booksellers, created his first grouping of Aberdeen Portraits in 1857, with a second collection in the following year. They spent many hours selecting and arranging the images to form an oval of faces where their perceived prominence of each individual is determined by the size and placing of each portrait within the oval. Images of Walker, Wilson and Wilson's brother Robert were included in the first selection.

The venture was a huge success with thousands of prints being sold, and, eventually a further seven groupings were created from the stock of images held. In 1907, a booklet with an alphabetical list of all 897 portraits was produced by G. W. Wilson & Co. when a portfolio of all 9 groups with the list could be purchased for 10 shillings and 6 pence.

See more of Wilson's portraits, including those of the Royal Family, in our interactive exhibition on the touchscreens.
George Washington Wilson
Aberdeen Local Studies
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