I-63540 | Sir Hugh Allan, Montreal, QC, 1871

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Sir Hugh Allan, Montreal, QC, 1871
William Notman (1826-1891)
1871, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Sir Hugh Allan, a rich Montreal ship owner and financier, asked the celebrated photographer William Notman to take his photograph.

Born in Scotland in 1810, Sir Hugh landed in Montreal in 1826 and built his immense fortune in shipping. His fleet of steamers carried immigrants, manufactured goods and natural resources to and from the United Kingdom and the ports of Montreal, Quebec City and the Maritimes. He was also interested in other means of communication, including railways, the telegraph and the telephone. An astute investor, he put money into Montreal's booming industrial economy.

Photographer William Notman was renowned for his portraits. Most of Canada's well-known personalities, both English and French, made use of his services.

  • What

    In his studio, Notman managed to create an appropriate, unique setting for each sitter, offering a choice of backdrops, furniture and accessories.

  • Where

    Notman's studio was on Bleury Street, but has since disappeared.

  • When

    In the mid-19th century, photographers made their living chiefly from portraiture.

  • Who

    In the 1860s and 1870s, Sir Hugh Allan's fortune amounted to between $6 million and $10 million, making him the richest man in Canada.