Professional Photographer and Exhibitor

Andrew Swan Watson


   A Swan Watson  -  A photograph by Alexander Corbett that appeared in the British Journal of Photogarphy with A Swan Watson's Obituary on 16 May 1930 ©

Early Photography

Andrew Swan Watson, photographer and portrait painter, served his apprenticeship with Marshall Wane and gained a reputation for his cloud pictures and transparencies. Some of these, showing clouds over the sea, are in the National Portrait Gallery collection.  Titles include:

-  “Silently the shades of evening fall” 

“The last faint beam is fading

"On yonder dark blue deep”

At the time of his apprenticeship, William Crooke was Operator in the studio.


In common with Marshall Wane, Andrew Swan Watson entered his photographs in exhibitions.  He won awards from Crystal Palace, Dundee, Edinburgh, London, Ireland and Vienna.

In 1890 EPS exhibition, he exhibited:

-  silver print "Evening Studies"

-  silver print  "In the Soft Evening when the Wind is Stilled"

-  several platinotype landscapes 

-  one carbon transparency  

On 1 October 1926, Swan Watson, then President of the Edinburgh Professional Photographers' Society,  was congratulated for having won the Professional Photographers' Association Gold Medal for his portrait of Lord Sands at the Society's All British Professional Exhibition

[BJP 1926, p159]

He was also a respected judge of photographic exhibitions.


A Swan Watson then started his own business, having acquired  Viewpark Art Studios at Bruntsfield from the late George Shaw. 

From these studios he produced work in silver, carbon and platinotype.  'View Park Art Studios' had eighteen apartments on a single floor.

“There was a reception room in the form of a gallery forty feet long by twenty-four feet wide, from which led a wide passage, ninety feet long with twelve windows, each fitted with transparencies of cloud pictures, landscapes, seascapes and portraits.

A second studio in the premises was used for group pictures and for all kinds of exterior effects.  When visited in 1892, a third studio was fitted with a boat and sail, water and imitation rocks.  The grounds were used for equestrian and other photographs.”

[BJP1892: p613]

Andrew Swan Watson was based at this studio for about 40 years.  The business continued, after his death, until 1958.  


Andrew Swan Watson was awarded his FRPS in 1925 or 1926.  At the time he was President of the Edinburgh Society of Professional Photographers.  The Society congratulated him on his 'FRPS' at their Meeting on 1 February 1926.
[BJP 1926, p159]

Andrew Swan Watson also became an Honorary Life Member of the Photographers' Association of America.

Other Interests

Andrew Swan Watson was an organist and choirmaster in Morningside Congregational Church.

He travelled extensively in France and Italy, and gave many lectures on Venice, the Vatican and the picture galleries of Europe.

[EPS:  Obituary by AH Baird]




Alistair R Brownlie

Braid, Edinburgh

I referred briefly in 'Other Interests' above to Andrew Swan Watson's involvement wit Morningside Congregational Church.  Here, Alistair Brownlie provides more details.

Alistair wrote:

Morningside Congregational Church

"Morningside Congregational Church began in 1887 as a small building (since demolished) on a site north of 'Holy Corner' - the junction of Morningside Road, Colinton Road and Chamberlain Road.

The church was rebuilt in 1927 (opposite Christ Church) creating the building that is now occupied by Morningside United Church."

Photograph Album

"The fifth minister of the original church, from 1901 until 1911,  was W Morton Barnwell.

On his departure to become minister of Grafton Square Church, London, he was presented with a large album containing about 90 photographs of individual church members and groups of members.

The church still has what appears to be a copy of the original presentation volume that was given to W Morton Barnwell.  The album itself is in quite poor condition, although the photos contained in it are mostly quite well preserved"

Andrew Swan Watson

"I believe that most of the studio portraits were prepared by Andrew Swan Watson, the photographer who died in 1930.  He was a member of the church and acted as their organist and choirmaster for several years.

Further Research

"The people in the album held by the church are mainly identified by pencilled names.

If there were better records anywhere identifying the sitters' addresses, this information could enhance the items that we hold and might justify some sort of compilation which would give a good social picture of a congregation at Holy Corner between 1900 and 1911."

Alistair R Brownlie, Braid, Edinburgh:  November 23, 2012



Andrew Swan Watson

Professional Photographer and Exhibitor              Death + Obituary + Tribute

1881 Census              Douglas Hume Watson            William Watson

Cabinet Prints

 Thumbnails            Enlarge the back

A Swan Watson  -  Cabinet print 1610  -  Two boys ©             A Swan Watson  -  The back of a cabinet print  -  1610  -  Two boys ©

Theatrical Photo

What Show?

   A theatrical group, including Helen Henderson in green.  What was the show? ©

Interior Photo

Where is it?