Notman was not trying to emulate or compete with painting as Rejlander and Robinson had done earlier. Nor was he using photographs as a guide to creating paintings as David Octavius Hill had done in Edinburgh. Notman's intention was to create highly saleable realistic group photographs in the only way it could be done at that time; by combining the technique of cutting and pasting photographs with the more fluid techniques of painting. And people accepted this, they knew why they were made this way, they themselves had sat in the studio with a posing stand at the back of their heads. They understood that these were photographs, and they bought them by the thousands.

Of course it is not known whether or not commerce was the primary motivation behind Notman's initial entry into the field of composite photographs. He must also have considered the publicity these astonishing productions would bring, and it was a chance for the art department to demonstrate their skills in a productive way in co-operation with the photographic staff. But it was certainly the economic opportunity inherent in the popular appeal of composite photographs that caused Notman to promote this branch of his studios' output in an unprecedented manner. No matter what his motivation, Notman blended commercial appeal, artistic vision and documentary accuracy in an elegant and convincing manner, and the prints received such a wide dispersion that many of them have survived intact, bringing us important, fascinating and beautiful records of the past.
Stanley G. Triggs

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