Aberdeen Portraits No. 1

George Washington Wilson (British, Grampian (Baffshire), Scotland 1823–1893 Abedeen, Scotland)

Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 21.3 x 17.2 cm (8 3/8 x 6 3/4 in.) Mount: 37.7 x 30 cm (14 13/16 x 11 13/16 in.) Frame: 43.2 x 35.6 cm (17 x 14 in.)
Credit Line:
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2011
Accession Number:
  • Description

    As the leading portrait photographer in Aberdeen, Scotland, Wilson had on file hundreds of negatives of the city’s professional elite. At the suggestion of his friend George Walker, a bookseller, Wilson cut out and pasted a selection of portrait heads in a tight oval, placing the largest and most important figures at the center; then he re-photographed the collage. Displayed in the window of Walker’s bookshop, the completed photomontage attracted immediate attention. Remarkably, some passersby did not realize that the photograph was composed of separate portraits, and Wilson and Walker received inquiries about “when & where all these people had been collected & photographed.”

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Printed credit and caption on mount, recto BC: "G. W. WILSON, Photogr // Aberdeen Portraits. // N° 1"; inscribed in an unknown hand in pencil on mount, verso BR: "collodion [illegible] 1859 Photographic // exhibition 1859"

  • Provenance

    [Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York, ?–2011]