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William McCraw

William McCraw was born in 1824 or 1825.  I believe he was an artist (but have yet to check this).  He was on parade with DO Hill at the Royal Review in Queen's Park in 1860.


After working in partnership with George Simpson for a couple of years, William McCraw appeared in the trade directories under his own name, describing himself as Photographic Artist.

McCraw continued to work under his own name  throughout the period 1859-83, working from five different studio addresses over this period, including several years at 79 Princes Street.  More photographic companies chose this address than any other for their studios.

William McCraw was described in 1861 as Photographic Artist employing one male and one female.  [Census: 1861]   His studio was then at 3 South Hanover Street and his home address was 1 Hanover Street. 

However the backs of his photos sometimes gave the address 5 Hanover Street.  See here for further details.

Simpson & McCraw

William McCraw went into partnership with George Simpson Teacher of Drawing, to form Simpson & McCraw in 1857-58 

The following year, he established his own photographic business.

Edinburgh Photographic Society

William McCraw gave lectures to EPS:

- 1867:  Exhibition of a Series of Photographic Enamels

- 1869:  Printing on Ivory by Various Methods

McCraw's Enamels

The enamels provided to EPS on 19 June 1867 were referred to in the British Journal of Photography:  [BJP:  1876, p.318] 

"Mr McCraw then exhibited a number of enamels, which were examined with much interest and were very much admired, several of them being considered quite equal to the best of those that have hitherto been done only in France.

 It was stated that Mr McCraw was willing to produce them for the trade, and, if necessary, could supply the copies within twenty-four hours after getting the negative.

Several members promised to bring specimens of M. Camerasac's enamels to the following meeting for comparison with Mr McCraw's, and the latter kindly offered to make one of the President for presentation to the Society.

The following EPS Meeting, on 17 July 1867 examined enamels by McCraw and Camerasac.  It was reported that:

"As arranged at the previous meeting, Mr McCraw showed several more of his enamels, and there were also some of Camarsac's exhibited.

The latter are well known, and it his high praise, but not more than the truth, to say that some of Mr McCraw's were quite equal to Camerasac's.

They were much admired, and the general opinion seemed to be that there was now no need to send out of Edinburgh to get enamels made.


1st PSS Exhibition, Dec 1856

William McCraw exhibited two frames, each containing 12 collodion stereoscopic views in the 1st PSS Exhibition in 1856.

He patented the “New Porcelain Process” in 1857. 

4th PSS Exhibition, Dec 1859

In the 4th PSS Exhibition in 1859, he exhibited 20 frames of photos, all from collodion negatives, including a tableau containing twenty-eight of the Edinburgh Town Council during the Provostship of Sir James Melville and a portrait of the Late Lord Provost.  

The Press was not impressed by the latter.  They wrote:

"The portrait of the Late Lord Provost, however, is the least successful; he looks as if he were enduring physical pain, having much the appearance of a martyr at the stake.".      [Evening News:  24 February 1859]


Photographs in Exhibitions  1839 to 1865

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