Portrait of a Nation: The Photographs of William Notman and Son Studios

William Notman with sons William McFarlane, Geroge and Charles in Montreal 1890

William Notman with sons William McFarlane, Geroge and Charles in Montreal 1890

The nineteenth century was a pioneering time on so many levels for Canadian society. It was a great century for the expansion of the west, the Confederation of the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada and scientific discoveries led to the development of the telegraph, electric power and the automobile by the end of the century. Yet, in these developments, there was an artistic revolution happening in the heart of Canada’s cultural mecca of Montréal. That revolution, which would transform Canadian society from coast to coast, was the development of photography. Throughout the nineteenth century, and well into the twentieth, an image of Canada was broadcast to the rest of the world as a place of beauty, grandeur and vast diversity in its landscapes and its people. At the forefront of that revolution of photographic wonder was the William Notman and Son Studio from Montréal.

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