University of Guelph tag line (JPG – 10kb)Library ID and link to its home page (JPG – 16kb)

Photography & Tourism

George Washington Wilson

G.W. Wilson & Co. Advertisement (JPG – 54kb)

G.W. Wilson & Co. Advertisement
from Black's Picturesque Tourist of Scotland (1879) DA 870.B624 1879



Jedburgh Abbey, South Aisle & Nave from the East (JPG – 37kb)

Jedburgh Abbey, South Aisle & Nave from the East
photograph by George Washington Wilson XS1 MS A195


George Washington Wilson began his career as a successful miniature portraitist in the 1850s. To secure a place in the competitive portrait industry, Wilson introduced photography into his commercial practice. This work led to a long and prosperous business relationship with Queen Victoria.

While being commissioned to photograph the Queen's summer retreat at Balmoral, Wilson additionally produced landscape views at her request. He soon recognized the commercial opportunities in producing landscape views and in the latter part of the nineteenth century he began to produce topographical views for the expanding tourist industry.

The combination of Wilson's acute attention to aesthetic details, technical ability, marketing skills, and Royal patronage made his firm George Washington Wilson & Co. of Aberdeen, one of the largest photographic publishing companies in Scotland and around the world.