May 20, 2018

40 Amazing Portraits of People Who Lived in and Visited Scotland During the 1840s

The partnership of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson is unequalled in the history of photography for its sophistication and impact. When they met in Edinburgh in 1843, Robert Adamson had set up the first studio in Scotland to work with William Henry Fox Talbot’s ‘calotype’ process. The calotype was a negative/positive form of photograph, capable of producing many prints, unlike the rival daguerreotype which is a single object. Hill was a painter and had started work on a large-scale picture, celebrating the founding of the Free Church of Scotland. They first met to see if Hill could use photography to aid the painting, but almost immediately discovered the potential excitements of photography. Fascinated by the process, Hill entered into partnership with Adamson within a few weeks.

Hill and Adamson’s photographs were mostly portraits of people who lived in and visited Scotland and are an active expression of Hill’s sympathy for and interest in people. Through chemical, optical and aesthetic experiment, they discovered how to make an awkward process express character, charm and beauty. Their work was completed in less than four years and the partnership ended with the tragedy of Robert Adamson’s death in 1848, at the age of 27.

David Octavius Hill with his daughter, Charlotte

Thomas Duncan, 1807 - 1845. Artist

Sandy (or James) Linton, his boat and bairns

George Combe, 1788 - 1858. Phrenologist

Mr Laing or Laine

Rev. Thomas Chalmers, 1780 - 1847. Preacher and social reformer (shown preaching)

James Nasmyth, 1808 - 1890. Inventor of the steam hammer

Finlay, deerstalker in the employ of Campbell of Islay

Sir George Harvey, 1806 - 1876. Genre and landscape painter; President of the Royal Scottish Academy

Anne Chalmers Hanna, 1813 - 1891. Daughter of Rev. Dr Thomas Chalmers; wife of Rev. William Hanna

Charlotte Lockhart, later Mrs Hope. Grand-daughter of Sir Walter Scott

Captain Robert Barclay-Allardyce, 1779 - 1854. Celebrated pedestrian

Sophia Finlay and Harriet Farnie

Patrick Byrne, about 1794 - 1863. Irish Harpist

George Troup and William Gibson

Edinburgh Ale: James Ballantine, Dr George Bell and David Octavius Hill

Harriet Farnie and Miss Farnie with a Sleeping Puppy, Brownie

James Drummond, 1816 - 1877. History painter; curator of the National Gallery of Scotland

Sir John Steell, 1804 - 1891. Sculptor

Piper and Drummer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle

Marion Finlay, Mrs Margaret (Dryburgh) Lyall and Mrs Grace (Finlay) Ramsay. Called 'The Letter'

lexander Rutherford, William Ramsay and John Liston

Mrs Barbara (Johnstone) Flucker

Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, 1809 - 1893. Writer

Hugh Miller, 1802 - 1856. Geologist and author

Mrs Anne (Palgrave) Rigby, 1777 - 1872

Isabella Burns, Mrs John Begg, 1771 - 1858. Youngest sister of Robert Burns

Samuel Aitken. Bookseller and friend of Thomas Carlyle

David Octavius Hill and Professor James Miller. Known as 'The Morning After "He greatly daring dined"'

Lady Mary Hamilton (Campbell) Ruthven, 1789 - 1885. Wife of James, Lord Ruthven

John Sobieski Stolberg-Stuart, 1797 - 1872. Alias John Hay or John Hay Allan

Charles William Peach, 1800 - 1886. Coastguard; naturalist and geologist

Mohun Lal, aged 28 in 1844

Burd Alane

Mrs Elizabeth (Johnstone) Hall, Newhaven fishwife

Two Newhaven fishwives, perhaps Mrs Elizabeth (Johnstone) Hall on the right

Willie Liston, Newhaven. Fisherman

Willie Liston, 'Redding [cleaning or preparing] the line'; Newhaven fisherman

'A Newhaven Pilot'

Newhaven boy ('King Fisher' or 'His Faither's Breeks')

(Images: National Galleries of Scotland Commons)




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