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George Washington Wilson

George Washington Wilson was a pioneering Scottish photographer born in 1823 near Banff in Aberdeenshire. In 1849, he began a career as a portrait miniaturist, switching to portrait photography in 1852, where he received a contract to photograph the Royal Family, working for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

He later pioneered various techniques for outdoor photography and the mass production of photographic prints when he began to experiment with landscape photography in the 1860’s. By 1864, he claimed to have sold over half a million prints.

At the time of his death in 1893, the firm employed 40 staff and was one of the largest publishers of photographic prints in the world.

From about 1870 onwards, Wilson relied increasingly on others to add to his photographic collections. Thus, all of the Mediterranean views were commissioned by the company or bought from freelance photographers such as James Hollingworth Mann, the photographer who was probably responsible for this collection.

Over 40,000 of Wilson's photographic glass plates still exist today, largely due to the meticulous washing and chemical treatments he insisted on applying. Aberdeen University is in possession of some 38,000 of these, which were donated by an Aberdeen photographer, Archie Strachan, in 1958. Of these, 198 plates relate to Gibraltar and the surrounding area.

The full University of Aberdeen Gibraltar collection (192 prints) can be browsed here: George Washington Wilson/Gibraltar

Neville Chipulina’s Blog also contains more details on the collection: 

1870 - George Washington Wilson - Photographs

1870 - George Washington Wilson - Campo Photos

The fully re-mastered quality prints can be accessed here:

1860s - Gibraltar - Photographs by James Hollingworth Mann - George Washington Wilson and Co.


George Washinton Wilson, self-portrait.

Selection of George Washington Wilson Gibraltar Collection. Copyright is acknowledged as belonging to the University of Aberdeen.

Waterport or Mainstreet.


Old Moorish Castle.

Gibraltar from the Old Mole.

The New Mole.

South Town from New Mole.

Lover's Walk, Alameda.

Ornamental Tank, Alameda.

Gibraltar from Santa Barbara.