Collection F 4357 - Collection of William Notman and Alexander Henderson photographs

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Collection of William Notman and Alexander Henderson photographs

General material designation

    Parallel title

    Other title information

    Title statements of responsibility

    Title notes

    Level of description


    Reference code

    CA ON00009 F 4357

    Edition area

    Edition statement

    Edition statement of responsibility

    Class of material specific details area

    Statement of scale (cartographic)

    Statement of projection (cartographic)

    Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

    Statement of scale (architectural)

    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    • [185-?]-[189-?] (Creation)

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    79 photographs : albumen, black and white, mounted ; 7.5 x 9 inches and smaller

    Publisher's series area

    Title proper of publisher's series

    Parallel titles of publisher's series

    Other title information of publisher's series

    Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

    Numbering within publisher's series

    Note on publisher's series

    Archival description area

    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    William Notman (1826-1891) was a photographer and businessman active in the Province of Canada during the mid nineteenth century.

    Notman was born in Paisley, Scotland. He emigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1856 with his wife, Alice Merry Woodwark, and daughter after practising as an amateur photographer in Scotland. Notman had seven children, three of whom were boys who trained as photographers and worked with their father.

    Notman was primarily a portrait photographer; amongst his many subjects were Sir John A. MacDonald, Prince Albert, and Sitting Bull. He travelled extensively in Canada photographing Canadian scenery, activities and businesses, and was also commissioned to photograph major engineering achievements such as the Grand Truck Railway construction over Victoria Bridge at Montreal in 1858. Notman was also known for his composite photographs for which each subject was photographed individually and their image pasted onto a painted background.

    Notman achieved an international reputation with studios in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and seasonal studios at Yale and Harvard Universities. As the Photographer to the Queen, Notman recorded the Royal visits for the Canadian government.

    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    Alexander Henderson (1831-1913) was a photographer and merchant based in Montreal who captured the scenic landscapes of Canada during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

    Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Henderson immigrated to the Province of Canada in 1855 and settled in Montreal with his wife, Agnes Elder Robertson. From 1859 to 1863, he worked as a commission merchant while pursuing photography as an amateur, an endeavour in which he found great success, as evidenced by the prizes he won at amateur photo exhibitions in the United States, Ireland, Scotland and France.

    In 1861, he enlisted in the 3rd Battalion of the Volunteer Militia Rifles, becoming a captain in 1862. In 1865, Henderson published his first collection of landscape photographs, Canadian Views and Studies by an Amateur. After opening a studio in 1866, Henderson's second collection of photographs, Snow and Flood After the Great Storms, appeared in 1869, followed shortly thereafter by Photographs of Montreal in 1870.

    In 1872, Henderson began photographing the construction of Canada's railways. Over the years, he would produce photographs for the Intercolonial Railway (1872, 1875), the Occidental Railway (1876) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (1882-1885).

    In 1892, Henderson became manager of the CPR's photographic department and produced photos from as far west as Victoria, British Columbia. He continued in this post until 1897, when he retired completely from photography. Alexander Henderson died in 1913.

    Custodial history

    The collection was donated to the Archives of Ontario by Mrs. Basil Eyre in October 1972. The photographs were collected by the donor's mother on a visit to Canada from Dublin, Ireland.

    Scope and content

    Collection consists of photographs believed to be taken by William Notman or Alexander Henderson depicting scenes in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

    Photographic subjects include: buildings, churches, trains, waterfalls, rivers and a variety of other urban and rural landscapes and portraits.

    The photographs are arranged geographically.

    For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition


    Language of material

      Script of material

        Location of originals

        Availability of other formats

        Restrictions on access

        No restrictions on access.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Records are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on reproduction for research and private study. If you wish to use other than for research and private study any of this material, submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.

        Finding aids

        For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:

        Associated materials

        Associate material in other institutions:

        The McCord Museum in Montreal is home to the Notman Photographic Archives, a collection that also houses a number of Henderson prints. Additional collections of Henderson prints are held in Ottawa by Library and Archives Canada and The National Gallery.

        Related material at the Archives of Ontario:

        Other records created by or relating to William Notman and Alexander Henderson held at the Archives of Ontario are the following: F 4358, William Notman fonds; F 1140, MU 2254, Ontario Society of Artists, Minute Books; RG 15-54, 3rd Session, Department of Public Works Records, Photographic Portraits of the Members of the Ontario Legislature; F 4358 William Notman fonds; F 4360 Edward Wilkes Rathbun fonds; F 702 Mann family fonds and C224-20 Henderson-Goold-Duffin photograph album.

        Related materials


        General note

        A number of Notman photographs have been reproduced in the following publications: William Notman: The Stamp of a Studio by Stanley Triggs (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1985); William Notman's Studio: The Canadian Picture (Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992); and Portrait of a Period: A Collection of Notman Photographs, 1856-1915, edited by J.R. Harper and Stanley Triggs (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1967). A number of Henderson photographs appear in Alexander Henderson: Nineteenth-Century Landscape Photographer by Stanley Triggs, Archivaria 5, (Winter 1977-78, pp. 45-59). Although never business partners, William Notman and Alexander Henderson were contemporaries and colleagues. The two men made a photographic excursion to Niagara Falls in 1860 and were both founding members of the Art Association of Montreal, established the same year.

        Alternative identifier(s)

        Standard number

        Standard number

        Access points

        Subject access points

        Place access points

        Name access points

        Genre access points

        Control area

        Description record identifier

        Institution identifier

        Rules or conventions


        Level of detail

        Dates of creation, revision and deletion

        Added Apr/12.

        Language of description

          Script of description


            Accession area