Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
The first Canadian photographer of international renown with subjects ranging from royalty, Governors General and the Fathers of Confederation, to Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Anna of Anna and the King of Siam fame. He would also have been responsible for most of the vintage photos of Victorian Montreal, its winter scenes and its citizens.
Not only that, he also owned the largest photography business in 19th-century North America. But his biggest coup must be the 'Maple Box' - a portfolio of his pictures as Canada's official gift to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, in 1860.
So who was this migrant from Paisley who arrived in Montreal in 1856? Senior cataloguer Nora Hague of the Notman Photographic Archives is a fount of information about William Notman (8 March 1826 – 25 November 1891), his career and times. The Archives (which include 400,000 glass negatives, 60,000 of which have been digitized) are housed at the Mc-Cord Museum, where Hague has worked for more than 40 years. You can read an article on him here and view some of them here too.
But more interestingly, if Notman is someone you are researching on, CBC Ideas, 88.5 or 104.7 FM in Canada will be airing a two-part radio documentary about the life of William Notman by Elaine Kalman Naves on Wednesday, 22nd February, and Thursday, 23rd February, at 9pm. Fear not for local UK BPH readers - with today's technology I think there is an equivalent iPlayer which you can try here on the day. Hope it works!
Photo: Ice shove, Montreal 1884 by William Notman, courtesy McCord Museum.
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