Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks

 

George Davidson

and

Thomas Davidson

1798-1878

 

George Davidson

Pioneer Photographer

I have discovered information about Thomas Davidson from the early trade directories, press and photographic journals, but I still have to investigate the life and work of George Davidson.

C S Minto, Edinburgh City Librarian, reported in his lecture to Edinburgh Photographic Society in the 1950s that Thomas Davidson had taken over the family optician business from George Davidson in 1841, and that George Davidson was, himself, a daguerreotypist.

 

John Nicol's recollections of Thomas Davidson

Pioneer Photographer

John Nicol, a regular speaker at EPS meetings, gave an interesting review of the life of Thomas Davidson [1798-1878] in an article he wrote in the year following Davidson’s death.  

Speaking of the pioneers of photography, Nicol said:

“As year by year we are coming nearer and nearer to the last link. It is a pity that anyone who played an important part in laying the foundation on which so grand a structure has been reared, should be allowed to pass away without an attempt being made to keep his memory green, and to associate his name with the trials and troubles then overcome.”

 

Before Photography

Thomas Davidson was born in Northumberland and trained as a weaver.  As an amateur optician and instrument maker, he made lathes, telescopes, flutes and a violin.  He moved in the 1820s to East Anglia, where he continued his weaving business, joined the herring fishermen and ran an instrument repair business.

In 1836, he moved to Edinburgh, working first for John Davis, mathematical and philosophical instrument maker and optician, then based at 64 Princes Street, the same address as James Howie’s premises from 1832 to 1840.

Camers and Lenses

In 1839, following Daguerre’s announcement of his photographic process, Davidson set up his own business in Edinburgh, making camera and lenses.

In 1840 he was offering  8½ ins x 6½ ins cameras which “commanded a ready sale at good prices”.

He later made a camera for Hill & Adamson, using a concave mirror for a lens, and capable of producing slides 16 ins x 13 ins.  His cameras were admired by Talbot and his circle.

Davidson went on to make lenses for the prominent photographers of Edinburgh: 

              -   James Howie,  

              -   Hill & Adamson

              -   Ross & Thomson

              -  James Good Tunny 

              -  others

 It was W Davidson’s improved lens that James Howie used in his roof-top studio in late 1841.

Silver Medal

Thomas Davidson was awarded a Silver Medal by the Royal Scottish Society of Arts for his paper delivered on 23 Nov 1840:

“Description of the Process of Daguerreotype and Remarks on the Action of Light in that Process, both in respect of Landscapes and Miniature Portraits”.

 

 

Thomas Davidson

Entries in the Trade Directories and Advertisement

Thomas Davidson first appeared in the Edinburgh & Leith Trade Directories in 1841.  He was listed as:

1841

1842

1843

Thomas Davidson, Optician, 12 Royal Exchange

1844

Thomas Davidson, Working Optician, 63 Princes Street

1845

1846

1847

[not listed in the Post Office Directories]

1848

Thomas & W Davidson, Opticians &c., 29 Haddington Place

1849

Thomas Davidson & Co, Opticians &c., 29 Haddington Place

1850

1851

Thomas Davidson & Co, Opticians &c., 187, High Street

1852

1853

Thomas Davidson & Co, Opticians, 4 Infirmary Street

1854

and later years

[not listed in the Post Office Directories]

In 1844, Thomas Davidson placed an advert, promoting the business he had established in his new premises at 63 Princes Street:

“Working Optician, Mathematical and Philosophical Instrument Maker respectfully intimates that he has opened the above premises with an entirely new stock, including every description of theodolites and levels, single compasses, achromatic and reflecting microscopes, spectacles, eye glasses, …

Daguerreotype and Calotype Apparatus with latest improvements.”

In 1848, the daguerreotype part of Thomson's business was taken over by John Thomson of the Ross & Thomson partnership.

 

Thomas Davidson  -  Never made a fortune!

Unfortunately, despite his inventive skills, Thomas Davidson appears not to have been a successful businessman.  John Nicol reported that Davidson was well known to the Edinburgh photographers of the 1840s and 1850s, but by the time of his death in 1878, he was a poor man, unrecognised in his retirement by the current generation of photographers    [BJP: 1879, p391]

 

 

Photographers named

Davidson

George Davidson

and

Thomas Davidson

(1798-1878)

Frederick Davidson

(emigrated to USA 1896)

James Davidson (1)
James Davidson (2)
Davidson & Austin

 

 

__________________

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks