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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William Notman

Other: Wm. Notman & Son 
Joint: William Notman Studio 
Joint: Wm. Notman & Son 
Dates:  1826, 8 March - 1891, 25 November
Born:  Scotland, Paisley
Died:  Canada, QC, Montreal
Active:  Canada
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.

Preparing biographies

Further research

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If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
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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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo 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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