Valentine was a well-known photographer of Scotland. Valentines of Dundee produced Scottish topographical views from the 1860s, and later became internationally famous as the producers of picture postcards.
The business was founded in 1851 by James Valentine (1815-1879). He added portrait photography to the activities of his established Dundee business, which had been based up to 1851 on the engraving, printing and supply of business stationery. In 1855 he erected one of the largest photographic glasshouses in Britain. In 1866 James Valentine carried out his first Royal commission and received the Royal warrant in 1867. His organisational and presentational skills were essential in the rapidly expanding and thriving concern which opened a large printing works in Dundee. William Dobson Valentine (1844-1907), son of James Valentine, took a course of chemistry at London University and trained to be a landscape specialist in the studios of Francis Frith at Reigate, Surrey, the largest English publisher of the commercial landscape. He entered the family business in about 1860.
Valentine views in the nineteenth century aimed at the national middle and upper class tourist market, with the production of both drawing room albums containing selections of photographs arranged geographically and individual landscape prints. Landscapes were available in a choice of sizes - cabinet, imperial and card. Stereoscopic views were also produced. Subjects concentrated on tourist sights in Scotland, then to England in 1882 and on to fashionable resorts abroad, including Norway, Jamaica, Tangiers, Morocco, Madeira and New Zealand before 1900.
The company became very widely known after the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879, when they were commissioned to photograph the remains of the bridge for the Court of Inquiry. The pictures were sold across the country, and used in picture postcards.
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