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Photograph: Oban, From South
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Title: Photograph: Oban, From South
Identifier: 2001.5.33
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1870-1876
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A black and white photograph titled “Oban, From South. 2914. G.W.W.” It depicts a town on the banks of a lake. The town is made up of stone buildings, several stories high in close proximity to one another. The town surrounds a port. There are several boats on the lake. In the background are rolling hills.

Oban is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Oban Bay is a near perfect horseshoe bay, protected by the island of Kerrera, and beyond Kerrera is Mull. To the north is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour. In the 18th century, the land where Oban now stands supported very few households, sustaining only minor shipbuilding and quarrying. The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery that was founded there in 1794. By the late 19th century, Oban was a busy port which shipped wool, whisky, slate and kelp to Liverpool and Glasgow. The arrival of the railways brought new prosperity to Oban, revitalising local industry and giving birth to local tourism. It was at this time that McCaig's Tower, a folly and prominent local landmark, was constructed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oban

“George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) was a Scottish photographer. After studying art in Edinburgh and London, he returned to his native city of Aberdeen in 1849 and established a business as a portrait miniaturist catering to the wealthy families of the North East of Scotland. In 1852 Wilson ventured into portrait photography. With his well-developed technical and commercial acumen and a contract to photograph the Royal Family while documenting the building of Balmoral Castle in 1854-1855, he established himself as one of Scotland's premier photographers. Pioneering the development of techniques for photography outside of the studio and the mass production of photographic prints, Wilson moved increasingly from portraiture to landscape photography in the 1860s. He also produced stereoscopic pictures whose main characteristic was that exposures were very short. By 1864 he claimed to have sold over half a million prints. The firm was one of the largest publishers of photographic prints in the world, competing with James Valentine, who was also a prolific photographer, with a large company in Dundee. The business survived until 1908, when it was wound up at auction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Wilson

Traveler’s in the 1870’s could not take their own photographs, so professional photographers would create albums with photos like these and sell them to travelers to commemorate their journey. In 1871 Elizabeth (Bessie) and Annie Harris (daughters of James Beveridge and Elizabeth) traveled to Europe to do a tour of Scotland, Ireland and England. In 1876, Lucy and Arthur Harris traveled to Scotland to visit their aunts in Perthshire. James Beveridge Harris’s sisters, Margaret Patton and Matilda Lindsay, both lived at Rose Terrace, Perth, with their cousin Margaret Anne Patton in the 1870s and 1880s. These photos could have come from any of those trips or have been sent by the Aunts, to the family at Benares.
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