Valentine was a Scottish photographer of Scottish topographical views from the 1860s, and later became internationally famous for picture postcards. Born on 12 June 1815 in Dundee, the second of the five children of John Valentine (1792–1868), linen weaver, and his wife, Mary Valentine née Watson (1790-1866). Valentine studied photography at the University of St Andrews where he became an acquaintance of Thomas Rodger.
The business Valentine & Sons Ltd was founded in Dundee in 1851 by James Valentine. He added portrait photography to the activities of his established Dundee business, which had been based up to 1851 on the engraving, printing and supply of business stationery. In 1855 he erected one of the largest photographic glasshouses in Britain. About 1860, he decided to emulate the success of George Washington Wilson in Aberdeen in selling topographical view photographs. In 1866 Valentine carried out his first Royal commission and received the Royal warrant in 1867. His organisational and representational skills were essential in the rapidly expanding and thriving concern which opened a large printing works at 152 and 154 Perth Road, Dundee.
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