I-63666.1 | Mrs. John Notman's children, Montreal, QC, 1871

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Mrs. John Notman's children, Montreal, QC, 1871
William Notman (1826-1891)
1871, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  mixed (2246) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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This photograph portrays three children of Mrs. John Notman, née Mary Ellen Gatehouse (1840-1913). They are Helen Brown, George Sloane and Isabel V. Notman.

John S. Notman (1830-1879) was a brother of the founder of the William Notman photographic studio in Montreal. His daughter, Isabel V. Notman (1869-1880), was therefore a niece of William Notman. She had five siblings: Helen Brown (1863-1940): George Sloane (1864-1942): James Henry (1873-1897): Margaret Alice (1875-1896): and Frederick William (1878-1968). Isabel was the family's third child. She died in 1880 at just 11 years of age.

George Sloane Notman, the eldest son of John S. Notman, became an apprentice to his uncle William at the age of 12. After settling in Boston in 1883, George worked at the 99 Boylston Street studio with James Notman, another of his uncles. Three years later, George was joined in Boston by his brothers, sisters and mother, now widowed. Around the same time, William Notman's youngest son Charles (1870-1955) arrived in Boston to work at the Park Street studio. He was followed by Annie (1864-1935), a niece of William and the only daughter of Robert Notman (1837-1882). In 1890, they were joined by George R. W. Notman (1868-1921), the second son of William. During a period of 12 years or so, the Notman family was represented in Boston by several of its members. A great many, if not most of them, worked in the studios.

In 1889, George Sloane Notman left the studio to begin a career as a portrait painter under the name "George Sloane". He abandoned the Notman surname in 1892 to avoid being confused with his cousin George R. W. Notman. He also added an "e" to the end of his name in order to distinguish himself from the well-known Boston painter John Sloan. Today, George's descendants still bear the surname "Sloane".

Miss Nellie Notman (1863-1940), or Helen Brown Notman, worked at the Notman photographic studio for a period of two years and nine months between 1879 and 1882. During that time, she was paid a twice-monthly salary that would go from seven to nine dollars. The nature of her responsibilities remains unclear.We do know that Nellie was not a photographer, since women were not hired as photographers at the Notman studio. She may have been employed as receptionist, secretary, wardrobe attendant, colourist or retoucher. She may also have worked in printing, photo finishing or shipping.