Culture in Poznań



Once upon a time in the United Kingdom... Stereophotographs by George Washington Wilson

The idea for the exhibition in the Poznań Fotoplastykon was prompted by the 200th anniversary of the birth of the painter and photographer George Washington Wilson.

Sepia photograph of the Gloucester Cathedral, which is in the background. In the foreground a lake or a river with some water plants. - grafika artykułu
Gloucester Cathedral, from the North West. Photograph by George Washington Wilson, courtesy of the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy.

Wilson was one of the most famous 19th-century photographers. Born in Scotland in 1823, he originally trained to become a carpenter. However, he developed a keen interest in art and went on to study portrait painting in Edinburgh, and then to perfect his technique in London. Eventually, he found his calling in photography, a fledgling discipline at the time and one that became his true passion. It was in this endeavour that he turned out to be most successful.

In the 1850s, already as an artist and photographer, Wilson settled in Aberdeen, Scotland. He soon established a solid reputation, owing not least to his photography contracts with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Over time, Wilson's photography and printing firm grew to become Scotland's largest and most famous. Having started his business by taking and printing photographs of the United Kingdom, he expanded his scope in time to cover sites from around the world. Wilson's photographs immortalised not only bustling 19th-century cities, which he captured in dynamic snapshots, but also the architecture of buildings in current use and ruins. He aptly highlighted their intricate details and complex spaces, particularly in his stereophotographs. He also made excellent use of light. Wilson was known for evocative depictions of Scottish landscapes that revealed their romantic but also wild beauty. Many of them feature sites described in novels by famous writers, including Sir Walter Scott.

Wilson's works earned him numerous prizes. He won accolades for his innovative and experimental approach to photography, including the use of quick exposures.

In the late 1880s, he handed his business over to his sons. Unfortunately, the company only survived for another two decades.

George Washington Wilson died in Aberdeen in 1893.

The photographs on view at the exhibition are provided courtesy of the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy.

Written by the Editors

translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski

  • Once upon a time in the United Kingdom... Stereophotographs by George Washington Wilson - an exhibition in the Poznań Fotoplastykon
  • Centrum Informacji Kulturalnej (Cultural Information Centre), ul. F. Ratajczaka 44
  • 1.04.2023 - 10.06.2023; opening hours: Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm, Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday closed, last admission 1 hour before closing time
  • tickets: regular admission - 6 pln, reduced admission - 3 pln, family tickets - 12 pln, group tickets (groups of 10 or more) - 25 pln

© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2023