This small sketch in oils depicts the painter and pioneer photographer George Washington Wilson. Born near Banff, Aberdeenshire, Wilson studied art in Edinburgh, London and Paris. He first worked as a painter of portrait miniatures but soon learned about the recently invented calotype photographic process. In 1852 he set up a portrait photography studio in Aberdeen, which became hugely successful. His portable darkroom also allowed him to take landscape photographs around the country and overseas. By the 1880s, his firm was one of the largest and most famous photographic publishers worldwide. Its vast collection of glass negatives are now held by the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums. The latter also hold the finished portrait for which this sketch was made.