Notman's First School Composite

Notman’s first school composite was made in 1871 for Miss McIntosh of Bute House, a "young ladies’ seminary" which stood on Sherbrooke Street at the corner of McGill College Avenue in Montreal. In 1873 Notman portrayed the Bute House girls skating on Mount Royal, now Beaver Lake, and composed a summer scene of the students of a St. Albans, Vermont girls’ school in fancy dress under a fanciful outdoor setting. The last known school composite of the decade was a dramatically lit indoor view showing the young men of the Collège de Montréal, the oldest boys’ school in Montreal, which was and is operated by the Sulpician Fathers of the Grand Seminaire.

Although Notman had been photographing the professors, students and campus of McGill College in Montreal since about 1860, it wasn't until 1876 that the first known composite of McGill students was made. In the 1880s and '90s Notman made many composites of McGill students, and once the medallion composites were introduced in the 1890s the Notman studio produced, it seems, a composite for every graduating class in all departments up to 1935 when the studio was sold.
Stanley G. Triggs

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