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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William Ramsay

Dates:  1806 - 1865
Active:  Scotland / Italy

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for William Ramsay
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

In the 1856 Edinburgh exhibition of the Photographic Society of Scotland, Ramsay showed a waxed-paper view of the Capitoline Hill in Rome, taken from the Forum. It is the only time he is known to have exhibited and his only known photograph; most likely it represents a much more significant body of work, at present lost. Ramsay experimented with photolithography and was a friend of Robert Macpherson and a member of the Photographic Society of Scotland. Virtually all of his professional life was based in Glasgow, where he held the Chair of Humanity at the university until his death. His obituary stated, “Few teachers have ever left upon their pupils — of whatever class or type of mind — so deep and clearly-cut an impress of their personality as Professor William Ramsay.” He published extensively on mathematics and classics. Ramsay was remembered in the Scotsman as “an accomplished man of the world, full of human sympathies and interests,” who “had considerable practical knowledge of chemistry, and was one of the first amateurs to practise photography in this country.” He died during a visit to San Remo. 
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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