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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William Notman

Other: Wm. Notman & Son 
Joint: Notman & Fraser 
Joint: William Notman Studio 
Joint: Wm. Notman & Son 
Dates:  1826, 8 March - 1891, 25 November
Born:  Scotland, Paisley
Died:  Canada, QC, Montreal
Active:  Canada / US
Emigrated to Canada in 1856 and became one of the preeminent Canadian portrait photographers who also took cityscapes of Montreal and intriguing photocollages of large groups. He had studios in various cities including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax. The McCord Museum of Canadian History, 690 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E9, Canada holds the Notman Photographic Archives.
WARNING: Take care not to confuse with his son William McFarlane Notman who was also a photographer - hence the studio name of Wm. Notman & Son. 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Albany, NY, US 
Boston, MA, US 
Montreal, Quebec, Canada 
[7-8] [In partnership with Campbell in Boston, 77-79] "Photographer"; scarce area views incl. 8 of capitol.
*[William Notman] "Photographer & Publisher"; "Photog. to the Queen" 61. Major worker who produced extensive, common & generally fine views; several series such as "Montreal & it's Neighbourhood", "Quebec & Its Vicinity", Niagara; in 60 advt. 520 views for sale; made fine series of construction of Victoria bridge 59; visit of Prince of Wales 60; gold medal London expo. 62 and many others; took some views himself, also had staff and contract photogs. & purchased negs. from other studios incl. Anthony; broad coverage with #s into 99,000s but actual views on issue much less since they were numbered serially along with his SIs. B. Scotland 3/8/26, Scotland, to Canada & opened gallery 56, became largest photographic business in Canada & one of largest in world; younger brother James Notman had studio in St. John, N.B. in which William had an interest; pres. of Centennial Photog. Co. for U.S. expo 76; Notman company became Notman & Sandham 76 [Henry Sandham] and Notman & Son 80; studio bought by W.J. Topley 72; D. 11/25/91. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

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Further research

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William Notman
William Notman 
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Exhibitions on this website

Theme: Documentary
ThumbnailDocumentary: 19th Century William Notman and the Victoria Bridge, Montreal, QC, Canada (1858-1860) 
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Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
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Internet resources

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The Photographic Studio of William Notman ... 
The McCord Museum (Montreal, Canada) holds the extensive archives of William Nottman (1826-1891) one of the most significant photographers of 19th century Canada. 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.72 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.365 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on William Notman.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.203-204 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.38 [Analyzes a single photograph by William Notman.] 
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