British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Exhibition of G W Wilson carte-de-visite views, 1862-1900.

New research based on a view of 'Roslyn Chapel --- The Apprentice's Pillar' confirms Mr Wilson introduced CDV views before late 1868. The printed caption appears on the recto and the seller's label, 'William Smith, 43 Lord Street, Liverpool' on the verso.

In 1862, the British Journal of Photography suggested to readers, they buy from Mr. Smith at 43 Lord street cartes of American personalities, published by Anthony of NYC, to support a Lancashire charity. Gore's Liverpool Directory of 1867 no longer listed Mr.Smith at that address.

From a selection of 12 hand-captioned CDVs, one of "Peterborough Cathedral" is printed on watermarked paper dated '1862'. Dr. Blair in his 2020 update of a listing of GWW's stereoscopic views notes this script is in Mr. Wilson's own hand.

Mr. Wilson's ambition has led to confusion. Coincidental to his 1863 list 'Stereoscopic and Album Views' he created a print from half of a stereo neg, he called an 'Album'. [later called 'scraps'] Mounted cards are very uncommon today on the dealers and collector's market. I believe his '... Album Views' are CDVs and follow an evolution easily traced.

The exhibition 'Mr. Wilson's Album Views' is a follow-up to 2017's 'The Artist Mr. Wilson' hosted at the same venue, The Atwater Library, 1200 Atwater Avenue, Westmount, Quebec, Canada from September 17 to December 10, 2020. See: https://www.atwaterlibrary.ca/exhibitions/current-short-term/

Views: 728

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of British photographic history to add comments!

Join British photographic history

Comment by Edward McCann on November 26, 2020 at 20:41

 Hello Peter -- Could it be the unavailability of albums? I've never seen an album for collecting 4x3 album format prints, with one exception. 

 Mr. Wilson did produce, for his theme souvenir 4x3 prints on thin uncaptioned mounts, a quality album designed like a cdv album. These contained 10 prints and are uncommon compared to the pasted-in cheaper production with 12 photographs.

Comment by Peter Blair on November 26, 2020 at 13:16

Hi Edward, I am glad that you have now proved that 1868 date for GWW introduction of CDVs is too late. It always seemed inconceivable to me that the most entrepreneurial of all photographers would not be churning out CDVs while they were hot in the early 1860s.

I would like to add another photographer to the list of those that produced the large cdv album views and that is William England. I attach one of his from around 1865. This format is also rare. 

It is interesting to speculate why this format did not take off while cdvs did. It must have been so easy for a stereophotographer to produce. 

Comment by Edward McCann on November 24, 2020 at 14:16

 In my collection are 62 recto numbered carte views -- 42 with blank versos -- so common today.

 Perhaps, these are the CDV views reviewed in The Art Journal, December1,1868: " They are recent additions to the extensive series he has been some years producing..."

 Attached is a view with an unnumbered and numbered mount. Both versos are blank.

Comment by Edward McCann on November 23, 2020 at 20:49

  From c.1863 to c.1868, he may have offered a view with title and credit on the recto and a blank verso.

   I have 36 examples -- illustrated are the only four dated by the owners: 1865;1866;1866 and August15/66.

Comment by Edward McCann on November 22, 2020 at 19:47

  The scarcest views in my collection -- only seven -- are the printed captions on recto and early GWW ident. device on the verso. One, the Smith sold view predating 1867, is from stereo #362 of 1862.The other numbers are 144a, 141, 66, 37, 30 and 13. Most unusual is 30, with the misspelling of Katrine and on-the- market for how long?

Comment by Edward McCann on November 22, 2020 at 19:30

  The 1862 "Peterborough Cathedral" is from stereo #388 of 1862. All the 11 other hand captioned views are from # 257a and before, back to #1.

Comment by Edward McCann on November 22, 2020 at 19:20

 The exhibition ran a lucky 13 days before the pandemic closed it down along with my access to a computer. Now at a friend's machine, I want to add more on my 117 CDV GWW view collection.

  First, with apologies to Dr. Blair, he only said the handwriting of the style on the watermarked 1862 ''Peterborough Cathedral" was "likely" by Mr. Wilson. My own study -- I had some experience in the RCMP crime lab hand writing analysis unit, while curator of their museum -- leads me to the same conclusion. So pictures and more text to follow about views, both hand captioned and printed titles with the early logo on the verso.

Comment by Edward McCann on September 28, 2020 at 22:43

 Another thought: in 1863, could GWW's list "... Album Views." mean both CDV and his new format 3x4 "album"?

Comment by Edward McCann on September 21, 2020 at 17:27

Follow-up; In nine years of collecting Mr. Wilson's, I have acquired two 'Album' cards.Note, one has the 'registered' notation added shortly after the copyright law of 1862. 

A hand-captioned CDV for size comparison is in the middle. The full length vertical print is common on these early  CDVs.

Comment by Edward McCann on September 21, 2020 at 15:29

 Thanks Paul -- a UK dealer in his four decades of collecting, only remembers having one example of GWWs 'album' format 3x4 inch on a printed board mount.  For auction, it was described as a large CDV.

© 2021   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service