W.S. Thomson – Publications

Books

W.S. Thomson was an entrepreneurial and busy photographer spending most of his life in Scotland. He made two major pictorial books with colour photographs, published by Oliver and Boyd in Edinburgh: The Highlands in Colour (1954) and Colourful Scotland (1956).

W.S. Thomson, The Highlands in Colour (Edinburgh/London: Oliver & Boyd Ltd, 1954 - First edition), dust cover.
W.S. Thomson, The Highlands in Colour (Edinburgh/London: Oliver & Boyd Ltd, 1954 – First edition), dust cover.
W.S. Thomson, Colourful Scotland (Edinburgh/London: Oliver and Boyd, 1956 - First edition), dust cover.
W.S. Thomson, Colourful Scotland (Edinburgh/London: Oliver and Boyd, 1956 – First edition), dust cover.

Let’s See Series

When the Sottish photographer moved to Fort William in 1945 and settled with his family in a house on 3 Cameron Square, where he also had a studio, he started publishing the Let’s See Series, of which he produced about 20 booklets from different areas in Scotland, printed in many editions. At the start, most photographs were black and white, but he introduced the printing of colour photographs in the series at the end of the 1940s. He continued producing these series when he moved in 1951 to Corpach near Fort William and moved again to Edinburgh in 1963. For this series, all format A5 landscape, Thomson was not only the photographer but also the publisher. He asked Scottish personalities to write accompanying stories.


Beauty Spots Series

When colour printing techniques improved, Thomson initiated the large (A4+) format Beauty Spot Series. All photographs were in colour.

Wm. S. Thomson, Beauty Spots of Argyll (Edinburgh, Wm.S. Thomson (Colour Photographs) Ltd, early 1960s), cover.
Wm. S. Thomson, Beauty Spots of Argyll (Edinburgh, Wm.S. Thomson (Colour Photographs) Ltd, early 1960s), cover.
Wm. S. Thomson, Beauty Spots around Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Wm.S. Thomson (Colour Photographs) Ltd, early 1960s), cover.
Wm. S. Thomson, Beauty Spots around Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Wm.S. Thomson (Colour Photographs) Ltd, early 1960s), cover.

Colour Gems Series

Colour Gems of Scotland is the first find of this format: 24 spiral-bound photographs printed recto-verso, with a short introduction about the publication and captions of the photographs.

W. S. Thomson, Colour Gems of Scotland (Edinburgh, W. S. Thomson (Colour Photographs) Ltd, [ca.1962]), cover
W. S. Thomson, Colour Gems of Scotland (Edinburgh, W. S. Thomson (Colour Photographs) Ltd, [ca.1962])

Tourist guides

W.S. Thomson was involved in several editions of Fort William and the surrounding area (Lochaber) tourist guides, produced at the end of the 1940s and the 1950s. He also supplied black and white and colour photographs for the 1960s Ilse of Skye tourist guides.

Guide to Fort William and District (Fort William, Fort William Town Council, ca.1953?), cover.
John M. Bannerman, et al. The Official Guide to the Isle of Skye (Portree, The Isle of Skye Tourist Association, 1961), cover.

Other publications

Having excellent contacts in the Lochaber area and mountaineering, Thomson was regularly asked to illustrate non-fiction books on Scotland, rural life, and mountaineering.

  • J.H.B. Bell, A Progress in Mountaineering. Scottish Hills to Alpine Peaks (Edinburgh/London, Oliver and Boyd, 1950). 7 black and white photographs by W.S. Thomson
  • Wendy Wood, Moidart & Morar (Edinburgh, The Moray Press, 1950). 13 black and white photographs by W.S. Thomson
  • Wendy Wood, From a Highland Croft (Edinburgh/London, Oliver & Boyd, 1952). Illustrated with photographs by Wm.S. Thomson
  • Jack House, The Glory of Scotland. Number One. The West. A Pictorial Guide (Edinburgh/London, Oliver and Boyd, 1962). Colour Photographs by W.S. Thomson
  • Frank Singleton, Lancashire and the Lakes (Edinburgh/London, Oliver and Boyd Ltd, 1964). Four colour photographs by Wm. Thomson
  • Jack House, The Glory of Scotland. East (Edinburgh/London, W. & R. Chambers Ltd, 1965). Colour Photographs by W.S. Thomson
  • Malcolm Brown and Patricia Meehan, Scapa Flow. The reminiscences of men and women who served in Scapa Flow in the two World Wars (London, Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1968). Five black and white photographs of W.S. Thomson

Magazines and newspapers

In the 1950s, Thomson regularly contributed colour photographs for Scottish Field and several newspapers.