Queen guitarist Brian May celebrates Scots pioneer of photography

George Washington Wilson's role in the development of photography is to be celebrated at a book launch in his home town of Aberdeen. Picture: contributed
George Washington Wilson's role in the development of photography is to be celebrated at a book launch in his home town of Aberdeen. Picture: contributed
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Queen guitarist Brian May is to help celebrate the work of a Victorian royal photographer.

George Washington Wilson, from Aberdeen, spearheaded a form of 3D imagery which captured the imagination of the musician a century later.

The beach at Portobello. Picture: contributed

The beach at Portobello. Picture: contributed

The 70-year-old has contributed to a new book by expert Professor Roger Taylor about Wilson and will attend a launch event at University of Aberdeen.

May said: “It’s been many years in the making, and I’m confident it will have been worth every minute.

“It presents the life and work of celebrated Scottish landscape photographer George Washington Wilson, who with great skill and flair, photographed the unique beauties of the Scottish countryside in the 1860s with his stereoscopic camera.

“The resulting 3D images proved immensely successful and established Wilson’s national reputation as a pre-eminent photographer.”

Wilson first rose to fame after he documented the construction of Balmoral Castle and became photographer to Queen Victoria.

May was first inspired by stereoscopic photography when cards featuring 3D images were given away free with breakfast cereal in the 1950s.

It led to a lifelong passion for collecting stereo cards and the emergence of his London Stereoscopic Company – dedicated to restoring and republishing Victorian classic cards – as well as original stereoscopic works on other subjects.

The University of Aberdeen holds around 38,000 of the estimated 40,000 glass plate images Wilson captured around the world during his career.

Professor Phil Hannaford, interim senior vice-principal of the University of Aberdeen, said he was delighted to be able to celebrate the launch of the book in Wilson’s home city.

“The city of Aberdeen and the university has a long association with George Washington Wilson – a true pioneer of photography – and we are proud not only to hold the world’s largest collection of his work but to have undertaken extensive work to digitise this wonderful collection and make it available to the public.

“The book –George Washington Wilson, Artist and Photographer – is an outstanding work which will bring his work to new audiences.”

Tickets for the launch event, which will be held in the Art’s Lecture Theatre, King’s College, Aberdeen on 16 August, are available from www.abdn.ac.uk/events