George Ritchie Mackay


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George Ritchie Mackay and his Studios

Edinburgh Professional Photographer, George R Mackay

©  With acknowledgement to Alex Gorrie

George Ritchie Mackay was a photographer, portrait and miniature painter. He coloured his own photographs to be sent to exhibitions.



105 South Bridge

GR Mackay initially had studios at 105 South Bridge Street.

George R Mackay

successor to TJ Bonne & Co

105 South Bridge

Artists & Photographers  -  High Class Photography



25 North Bridge

Later, he had a studio on the top floor of 25 North Bridge Street, an address that later became Patrick Thomson's Dept store.  This photograph of George R Mackay (the taller gentleman) and another man (who?) was taken on the roof of his North Bridge studio.

George R Mackay (the taller gentleman) and one other man on the roof of G R Mackay's studio

©  With acknowledgement to Alex Gorrie

Alex Gorrie believes that the photograph above was probably taken by G R Mackay's assistant, Alan Harper.

Was this the same man as Alan Harper, son of John Campbell Harper?  - Peter Stubbs

G R Mackay's studio was directly opposite The Scotsman newspaper office.

G R Mackay may have done some work for that paper.

He also took flights in an open plane during the 1914-18 War to take  aerial photographs.    [Des:AG]


70 Leith Walk

GR Mackay later opened a studio at 70 Leith Walk.  He named it  'Crown Studio'. 

Most of his photos give the name GR Mackay's and one or both of his his studio addresses.  However, I have two postcard portraits that hame no photographer but have a 'Crown Studio' blind stamp.  I have assumed that these are from GR Mackay's Leith Walk studio.



George Ritchie Mackay took photos for the theatre in his large studio at South Bridge.

He also produced portraits in several formats:

-  postcards

-  cabinet prints

-  small photos mounted on carte-de-visite size mounts.

Here is one of his larger photographs.

 A photograph of Driver John Turner taken by the Edinburgh photographer G R Mackay ©

Postcard Portraits




Other Photographers named





Alex Gorrie

Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Alex Gorrie, grandson of George Ritchie Mackay, who wrote:

My Grandfather

"G R Mackay died in 1919, aged 48, leaving a daughter* (b.1900) and a son** (also named George Ritchie Mackay)."

GR Mackay's Family

*  GR Mackay's daughter was named Gwendoline Mackay.  She married into the Gorrie family and became the mother of Alex Gorrie.

** GR Mackay's son was also named George Ritchie Mackay.  He went on to work for Valentine of Dundee, photographers.  He became the father of Michael Ritchie Mackay

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 2004

"G R Mackay's wife continued to run the business for a couple of years after his death, before selling it to Campbell Harper."

Studio Addresses

I have found no record in the trade directories of Campbell Harper being located at 25 North Bridge or 70 Leith Walk.  So presumably they, Campbell Harper, ran  these studios under the Mackay name:

The studio at 70 Leith Walk was also listed in some directories under the name of Miss Geo R Mackay and in others under the name of Mrs Geo R Mackay.  Presumably both refer to the widow.  By 1924, 70 Leith Walk had become John C Bambrick's studio.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 2004


Alex Gorrie, Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland:  August 24, 2004




Michael Ritchie Mackay

Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Michael Ritchie Mackay, now living in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, for sending the comments below.

Michael is the son of son of George Ritchie Mackay (Jun) and the grandson of George Ritchie Mackay (Sen) .

Michael wrote:


"My grandfather George Ritchie Mackay (Sen) died at an early age leaving my grandmother and two siblings,:

my father, George Ritchie Mackay (Jun) and

-  a daughter named Gwendoline (Gwennie) Mackay who later married into a family called Gorrie.

My grandmother re-married and became a Fairhurst but her husband also died, leaving my father to look after her in later years.  She was placed into a home in Meigle and lived there 'till she died aged 98."

Edinburgh, Dundee, Australia

"I was born in Edinburgh in 1945 and lived in Portobello with my father and mother Elizabeth Christie Mackay (known as Lillian). 

My father was born in Edinburgh and worked for his father.  They owned Mackay Studios in Leith Walk and Princes Street."

The trade directories show the studio being in North Bridge, not Princes Street.

  - Peter Stubbs

"We moved to Dundee when I was very young, probably in 1946.  In Dundee, my father worked for Valentines & Sons Ltd as a professional photographer, taking photos for postcards etc.

I stayed in Dundee 'till 1963 then emigrated to Australia. My father died in 1969, so I am the remaining direct descendent of that family."

Michael Ritchie MacKay, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:  May 16+21, 2007

Michael Ritchie Mackay is cousin of Alex Gorrie. (Alex's mother was Michael's father's sister.)




Alan Mackay

Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Alan MacKay has looked into the question:

Question 1

 "Was James M Mackay related to George R Mackay?"

Alan writes:

James M MacKay

"I have done a quick search and reckon that it is unlikely that James M Mackay and George R Mackay were related to each other.  (They certainly weren't father and son.) 

George Ritchie Mackay was born in Edinburgh on 10 November 1870.  His parents were John Mackay and Euphemia Meiklejohn Ritchie."

Alan Mackay:  February 2, 2005

Alan Mackay added

Hugh MacKay

"I was the  great grandson of Hugh Mackay who owned the Palace Hotel on the corner of Princes Street and Castle Street, and who was also a President of the Clan Mackay Society."

Alan Mackay, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: February 2, 2005




Alan Mackay

Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Alan MacKay also asked:

Question 2

"Am I, Alan Mackay, related to George Ritchie Mackay?"

Alan wrote:

Alan MacKay

"I've just looked back at some of my family history. When my G.Grandfather and his wife had their first child (Nov 1901) their address is 70 Leith Walk. This is also their address in the 1901 Census"

Alan Mackay, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: February 2, 2005



Michael Ritchie Mackay

Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Michael Ritchie Mackay for responding to Question 2 above.

Michael Ritchie Mackay wrote:

Answer to

Question 2

Alan Mackay

"Iíve read with interest and often wondered about a question raised by Alan Mackay, enquiring if there was any likelihood of him being related to George Ritchie Mackay.

Iím not sure of the exact date my father was born, but he died in 1969, a few  months after retiring, which would put his birth date somewhere close to 1904, perhaps 1903.  It was the 2nd of July though.  I know that for sure. 

If Alanís grandfather was born in 1901 and his address was listed as 70 Leith Walk, which was the address of my grandfather, then there seems to be too much of a coincidence for there not be some tie-up somewhere."

Michael Ritchie Mackay, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:  July 23, 2010




Gordon Lyon

Forfar, Angus, Scotland

Thank you to Gordon Lyon for providing more information about several members of his M'Kay/Mackay/MacKay family.

Gordon concludes in his final sentence that the answer to Question 1 above is:

"No:  James M Mackay was NOT related to George R Mackay."

Gordon wrote:

Family History Research

"I have been doing some research into my family history, in particular my Great, great Grandfather, Archibald M'Kay of Kilmarnock, who was a noted poet and historian. I was very surprised when I Googled his nephews:

 Alexander Sutherland Mackay and

-   James Millar Mackay,

 to find a link to your website."

Alexander and James were both sons of one of Archibald's brothers, Adam M'Kay (born 24.01.1804, died 13.12.1828 See the 'Correction below) who was indeed married to Agnes Millar."


Thank you to John Humphrey who wrote:


"Adam McKay was indeed born 24 Jan 1804, but he died 64 years later on 11 Jan 1868,  not on 13 Dec 1828 as suggested above.

In fact, all three of his sons were born after the 1828 date suggested above.

-  Alexander S Mackay was born in 1832

James M Mackay were born in 1834

-  David McKay was born in 1844.
He  served as Provost of Kilmarnock from 1895 until 1901.

John Humphrey:  June 10, 2013 (2 emails)


Alexander MacKay's Family

"Adams father. Alexander M'Kay (note: the spelling of Mackay varies throughout the years) was the son of:

John Mackay and

-  Jean (nťe Sutherland) of Kildonan in the county of Sutherland.

Alexander joined the Sutherland Fencibles and eventually settled in Kilmarnock where he met and married Janet McGill, the daughter of a well-known shoemaker in the town, in 1794. They had ten children but most died very young or in infancy.

Only Archibald Mackay (my great, great grandfather) lived to a good age (82) while his brother, Adam Mackay, was 24 when he died but managed to raise a large family with his wife, Agnes.

Adam Mackay's Family

"Two of their sons went on to be well-known painters in Edinburgh:

Alexander Sutherland Mackay was a well respected portrait painter

James Millar Mackay, his younger brother, was a notable landscape painter.

- David Mackay Mackay (1884-1906), another brother, was Provost of Kilmarnock and is credited with raising the money to fund the Dick Institute in Kilmarnock as well as running a Wines and Spirit company, William Wallace & Co, who were responsible for the brand of whisky called "The Real Mackay" launched around 1870.

You and other contributors to your website may be interested to know that a portrait of Archibald M'Kay which was painted by his nephew, Alexander Sutherland Mackay, and which I inherited some years ago, is now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Queen Street, Edinburgh.

Answer to

Question 1

"I can assure your correspondent that George R. Mackay was definitely not related to James Miller Mackay or to any of the other Mackays in my family."

Gordon Lyon, Glenogil, Forfar, Angus, Scotland:  December 2, 2012


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