A glimpse into Argyll’s Victorian past

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From a leather-bound volume featuring 90 high quality images, we have the privilege of showing photographs by one of the pioneers of the art of photography.

The photos are landscape scenes from all over Scotland by George Washington Wilson, including a number from Argyll and the isles.

Aberdonian Wilson (1823 – 1893) began a career as a portrait miniaturist, switching to portrait photography in 1852. He received a contract to photograph the Royal Family, working for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and pioneered various techniques for outdoor photography and the mass production of photographic prints as he gradually began to focus on landscape photography in the 1860s.

By 1864 he claimed to have sold over half a million prints.

The fascinating album is owned by Lochgilphead businessman Kenny MacLeod, who kindly lent it to the Advertiser.

In its red leather binding, the book appears to have been used to press flowers at some point in its history, as a pressed remnant of a small blue flower remains among its pages.

The scenes in the album can be dated to before 1877, since one of the Inveraray photos shows the pier with no wooden structure – which was added that year to accommodate larger steamers. The castle’s pointed towers were constructed in the 1880s.

The landscapes captured are remarkable for the open vistas, with neither Sitka spruce, jungle of scrub nor any motor vehicles to be seen.