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David Octavius Hill

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.
[Officer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders Reading to the Troops, Edinburgh Castle]
1819
1819
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1869
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1869
283 Media in collectionpage 2 of 3
Newhaven Fishermen

Newhaven Fishermen

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. Latham - Editor of Dictionary

Dr. Latham - Editor of Dictionary

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Henning

Henning

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

The 42nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle

The 42nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Cookie Miller

Cookie Miller

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Robert Aitken, Dundee

Rev. Robert Aitken, Dundee

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Fishwives

Newhaven Fishwives

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dunlop Esq. of Craigton

Dunlop Esq. of Craigton

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Patrick Byrne

Patrick Byrne

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. Cook of St. Andrews

Dr. Cook of St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Campbell of Monzie

Campbell of Monzie

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Annan Presbytery

Annan Presbytery

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Sir James Young Simpson & Wainhouse (or Muirhouse)

Sir James Young Simpson & Wainhouse (or Muirhouse)

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews. The Abbey Wall

St. Andrews. The Abbey Wall

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

David Maitland Makgill Crichton, Rankeillour

David Maitland Makgill Crichton, Rankeillour

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Fisherman

Newhaven Fisherman

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

William Etty

William Etty

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Scott (of Peel)

Scott (of Peel)

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Finlay - The Deerstalker

Finlay - The Deerstalker

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. Capadore

Dr. Capadore

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh. The Scott Monument

Edinburgh. The Scott Monument

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Fisherman with Two Boys

Newhaven Fisherman with Two Boys

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Miss Elizabeth Logan

Miss Elizabeth Logan

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Mr. Elder of Watts

Rev. Mr. Elder of Watts

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

James Glencairn Burns

James Glencairn Burns

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Miller and His Son Rev. Samuel Miller

Rev. Miller and His Son Rev. Samuel Miller

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Swinton

Swinton

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Mr. McNab - Botanical Gardens

Mr. McNab - Botanical Gardens

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Henning, Handyside Ritchie, & D.O. Hill, R.S.A.

Henning, Handyside Ritchie, & D.O. Hill, R.S.A.

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers (?)

Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers (?)

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

William Etty, R.A.

William Etty, R.A.

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

George Moon

George Moon

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Thomas Duncan

Thomas Duncan

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh. The High Street with John Knox's House

Edinburgh. The High Street with John Knox's House

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Burnside, Fife / Island in the Almond River

Burnside, Fife / Island in the Almond River

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. Jabez Bunting

Dr. Jabez Bunting

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Thomas Bell, Leswalt

Thomas Bell, Leswalt

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. Cook

Dr. Cook

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh.  The Orphan Hospital

Edinburgh. The Orphan Hospital

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Earl of Rosemore

Earl of Rosemore

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Lane

Lane

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

John Wilson

John Wilson

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Jimmy Miller

Jimmy Miller

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Ogilvie Fairly, Capt. Hamilton, and Gilmore

Ogilvie Fairly, Capt. Hamilton, and Gilmore

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

James Nasmyth (Steam Hammer)

James Nasmyth (Steam Hammer)

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Davidson of Aberdeen

Davidson of Aberdeen

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Boys

Newhaven Boys

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews. College Church of St. Salvator

St. Andrews. College Church of St. Salvator

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh.  Greyfriars' Churchyard

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Miss Kemp as Ophelia

Miss Kemp as Ophelia

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Jimmy Miller

Jimmy Miller

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. Jabez Bunting

Dr. Jabez Bunting

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Thomas Duncan, R.S.A.

Thomas Duncan, R.S.A.

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews. The Spindle Rock

St. Andrews. The Spindle Rock

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Sobieski Stuart

Sobieski Stuart

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Henry Grey, D.D., St. Mary's, Edinburgh

Rev. Henry Grey, D.D., St. Mary's, Edinburgh

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Peter Jones

Rev. Peter Jones

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Dr. George Cook, St. Andrews

Dr. George Cook, St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Fishwife

Newhaven Fishwife

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Fishwife

Newhaven Fishwife

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Tree at Colinton

Tree at Colinton

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Boy

Newhaven Boy

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Afghans

Afghans

The photographic collaboration between the painter D. O. Hill and the chemist Robert Adamson was a fruitful blending of the men’s respective talents. Hill’s membership in the Royal Scottish Academy gave the bus... more

Prof. Fraser, Rev. Welsh, Rev. Hamilton, and Three Other Men

Prof. Fraser, Rev. Welsh, Rev. Hamilton, and Three Other Men

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Principal Haldane, St. Andrews

Principal Haldane, St. Andrews

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man Holding Umbrella]

[Man Holding Umbrella]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Edinburgh. Greyfriars' Churchyard

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

H.B. Johnston, R.S.A.

H.B. Johnston, R.S.A.

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

The Morning After "He Greatly Daring Dined"

The Morning After "He Greatly Daring Dined"

In this cleverly staged scenario, Hill (seated) appears to be suffering the effects of a hangover. Holding the artist’s hand and fixing him with a disapproving look is his friend James Miller, a temperance refo... more

Lady Elizabeth Eastlake

Lady Elizabeth Eastlake

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Rev. Henshaw Jones

Rev. Henshaw Jones

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Thomas Duncan and His Brother

Thomas Duncan and His Brother

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews. The Harbor

St. Andrews. The Harbor

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Campbell of Monzie

Campbell of Monzie

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

William Scott Moncrieff

William Scott Moncrieff

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Sobieski Stuart

Sobieski Stuart

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

John Ban MacKenzie

John Ban MacKenzie

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Newhaven Fishwife

Newhaven Fishwife

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Mrs. Rigby

Mrs. Rigby

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Robert Paul, Commercial Bank

Robert Paul, Commercial Bank

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Alexander Thompson

Alexander Thompson

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

[Man]

[Man]

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

St. Andrews. Madras College

St. Andrews. Madras College

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Alexander of Duntocher, McMillan of Cardross and Two Others

Alexander of Duntocher, McMillan of Cardross and Two Others

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Symington, Paisley, and Glasgow

Symington, Paisley, and Glasgow

Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)