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David Octavius Hill

Hill and Adamson - Early Scottish PhotographyCreated by: PICRYLDated: 1845
[Officer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders Reading to the Troops, Edinburgh Castle]
David Octavius Hill was born in 1802 in Perth, Scotland and lived mostly in Edinburgh. His father was a bookseller and publisher active in re-establishing Perth Academy so David and his brothers were educated there. David learned lithography in the School of Design and produced Sketches, landscape paintings, book illustrations, including illustrations for editions of Walter Scott and Robert Burns.

He was present at the Disruption Assembly in 1843 when more than 450 ministers walked out of the Church of Scotland assembly to found the Free Church of Scotland. David and his friends Lord Cockburn and physicist Sir David Brewster wanted to record the dramatic scene. They came up with an idea to use the new invention, photography, to get likenesses of all the ministers present.

Brewster was himself experimenting with this technology which only dated back to 1839, and he introduced Hill to another enthusiast, Robert Adamson. Their collaboration, with Hill providing skill in composition and lighting, and Adamson considerable sensitivity and dexterity in handling the camera, proved extremely successful. Adamson's studio, "Rock House", on Calton Hill in Edinburgh became the center of their photographic experiments. Using the calotype process, they produced numerous portraits, both in the studio and outdoors, often amongst the tombs in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

They photographed local and Fife landscapes and urban scenes, including images of the Scott Monument under construction in Edinburgh. They photographed ordinary working folk, particularly the fishermen of Newhaven, and the fishwives, produced several groundbreaking "action" photographs of soldiers and - perhaps their most famous photograph - two priests walking side by side.

Their partnership produced around 3,000 prints but was cut short after only four years due to the ill health and death of Adamson in 1848. Hill died in 1870 and is buried in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.
298 Media in collectionpage 1 of 3
David Octavius Hill - View of the Thames with Figures in Foreground

David Octavius Hill - View of the Thames with Figures in Foreground

David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)

David Octavius Hill - View of Fingal's Cave

David Octavius Hill - View of Fingal's Cave

David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)

David Octavius Hill - View of a lake or river with a sailboat

David Octavius Hill - View of a lake or river with a sailboat

David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)

David Octavius Hill - View of a Waterfall (recto); Landscape Study (verso)

David Octavius Hill - View of a Waterfall (recto); Landscape Study (ve...

David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)

David Octavius Hill - View of a river with a promenade

David Octavius Hill - View of a river with a promenade

David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)

David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Patrick Byrne, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - The Castle, St Andrews
David Octavius Hill - Sir Charles Lyell - Geologist
David Octavius Hill - Dr. Arnold, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Sobieski Stuart, 19th century
William Borthwick Johnstone, William Leighton Leitch and David Scott as "The Monks of Kennaquhair" from Sir Walter Scott's "The Abbott"
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews. The Fore Tower of the Castle
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Dr. Keith
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews. College Church of St. Salvator
The Porthole / Sergeant and Private of the 42nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle
David Octavius Hill - Laird of Portmoak
David Octavius Hill - Mrs. Jameson, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - [Man Holding Umbrella]
David Octavius Hill - [Man, Full-length]
David Octavius Hill - [Man], 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Afghans or Circassian Armour
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh.  Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - Sir William Allan, P.R.S.A.
David Octavius Hill - Jimmy Miller, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Campbell of Monzie
David Octavius Hill - Dr. Jabez Bunting
David Octavius Hill - Sir John Boilleau
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers (?)
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Dr. Andrew Sutherland
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Dr. Keith
David Octavius Hill - "Edinburgh Ale" James Ballentine, Dr. George Bell, D.O. Hill
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh.  Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - Alexander of Duntocher, McMillan of Cardross and Two Others
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews. The College Church of St. Salvator
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - Patrick Byrne, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Lady Elizabeth Eastlake
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Henshaw Jones
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - The Artist and the Grave Digger
David Octavius Hill - Alexander Thompson, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Lady Elizabeth Eastlake
David Octavius Hill - John Stuart-Wortley, 2nd Baron Wharncliffe
David Octavius Hill - Dr. Sampson of York
John Henning as Edie Ochiltree from Sir Walter Scott's "The Antiquary"
David Octavius Hill - Presbytery of Dumbarton
David Octavius Hill - General John Munro, Teanich
David Octavius Hill - Sobieski Stuart, 19th century
Prof. Fraser, Rev. Welsh, Rev. Hamilton, and Three Other Men
David Octavius Hill - The Misses McCandlish
David Octavius Hill - William Etty, R.A.
David Octavius Hill - Sobieski Stuart, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - James Gordon, Dr. Hanna, and Mr. Cowan
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews. The Harbor
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - Newhaven Fishwife, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Newhaven Fishwife, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Bonaly Towers. Home of Lord Cockburn
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - Sir John McNeill
David Octavius Hill - William Etty, R.A.
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews Cathedral
David Octavius Hill - Robert Paul, Commercial Bank
David Octavius Hill - Mrs. Watson, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Newhaven Group, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Frederic Monod (Paris)
David Octavius Hill - David Roberts, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Newhaven Fishwives, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Peter Jones
Linlithgow, from the railway station, with the Town Hall, St. Michael's Church, and Palace
David Octavius Hill - [Man], 19th century
David Octavius Hill - The Misses McCandlish
David Octavius Hill - Miss Kemp as Ophelia
David Octavius Hill - John Wilson, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - [Two Unidentified Men]
David Octavius Hill - Lane, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Dr. George Cook, St. Andrews
David Octavius Hill - Jimmy Miller, 19th century
John Wilson, 19th century
Prof. Fraser, Rev. Welsh, Rev. Hamilton, and Three Other Men
David Octavius Hill - [Man], 19th century
Dr. Cook, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Fisher Lassies, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Dr. Inglis, Halifax
David Octavius Hill - Rev. Mr. Smith of Borgue
John Henning as Edie Ochiltree from Sir Walter Scott's "The Antiquary"
David Octavius Hill - Jacob Abbott, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - D.O. Hill and W.B. Johnstone
David Octavius Hill - Swinton, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - Annan Presbytery, 19th century
Newhaven Boy, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - The Morning After "He Greatly Daring Dined"
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews, 19th century
David Octavius Hill - St. Andrews. Blackfriars' Chapel
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