The World of William Notman

The World of William Notman

The Nineteenth Century Through A Master Lens

Book - 1993
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"Largely forgotten today, Notman was a dominant figure of photography in the U.S. and Canada in the 1870s and '80s. His Montreal-based family firm documented a continent's prideful development through photographs of architectural triumphs, universities and the land's ascendant citizens in elaborately staged studio portraits. The authors adequately describe the Glasgow emigrant Notman's business flair and ingenious artistry, but the real excitement is provided by the 173 duotones and 70 halftones. The railroads' westward thrust, Niagara's towering suspension bridge, a Royal Artillery review, a sidewheel steamer breasting the rapids, Quebec farms and Indian villages are all brought to life again. Longfellow, Emerson, Mark Twain, Lillie Langtry, the exiled Jefferson Davis, a young George V, Sitting Bull, Buffalo Bill, scholars, statesmen and tycoons posed for Notman cameras. A striking curiosity to modern eyes are the composite portraits of "Confederate Commanders, 1883" or a "Yale College group" which combine photos of individuals against an illustrated background with surprisingly effective results."--Publisher's Weekly via
"William Notman (1826-91) was a Victorian-era photographer and consummate businessman. His studio name lasted 60 years in Canada and the United States, until the last of at least 26 Notman studios was sold by his son in 1935. Beginning with the first studio in Montreal in 1856, the business grew along with technical improvements and the railroads' expansion to western Canada. Today Notman is thought of for his unusual and portable studio backdrops and imaginative composite photographs, but the Notman Photographic Company's success was based on more than gimmicks. Notman and his sons (and nephews) photographed the leading citizens of Canada and the United States and the infamous as well--such as the St. Albans Raiders, a group of U.S. Confederate bank robbers based in Canada. The official photographer for the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition, Notman was also commissioned to document the construction of the Victoria Bridge in 1858; together with his sons, he produced landscapes of newly opened territories and city and architectural views as well. Though based heavily on the Notman Photographic Archives at McGill University, this book's borrowings from other institutions indicate just how widespread the Notman name became. An example of the highest quality printing, this definitive work on Notman and his family business is highly recommended for photography collections."--Library Journal via
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c1993
ISBN: 9780771037733
Branch Call Number: REF 779.092 Hall
Characteristics: 226 p. :,ill., ports. ;,32 cm
Additional Contributors: Dodds, Gordon
Triggs, Stanley


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