Ivy-covered tree at Colinton. 'The Fairy Tree' [Landscape 45]
About this artwork
This is a calotype negative from which the positive image would be printed. Early photographic chemicals responded at different speeds to different colours; they were slow to react to the green of trees and grass. This may explain why, Hill, who was an experienced landscape painter, only took a few landscape calotypes.
- title: Ivy-covered tree at Colinton. 'The Fairy Tree' [Landscape 45]
- accession number: PGP HA 428
- artists: David Octavius HillScottish (1802 - 1870) Robert AdamsonScottish (1821 - 1848)
- gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(Print Room)
- object type: Photograph
- subject: Light and sound
- date created: Unknown
- measurements: 21.70 x 16.30 cm
- credit line: Elliot Collection, bequeathed 1950
David Octavius Hill
David Octavius Hill
A painter and a lithographer by training, David Octavius Hill is best remembered for the beauty of the calotypes he and Robert Adamson produced together. Hill was a sociable and kind-hearted man who did much to support the arts in Scotland and between 1830 and 1836 he was the unpaid Secretary of the newly established Royal Scottish Academy. After Adamson's death, Hill's attempt to start a new partnership with the photographer Alexander MacGlashan around 1860 failed. Hill is to this day revered as one of the first in the trade who transformed photography into an art form.
Robert Adamson was one of the first professional photographers, setting up in business in Edinburgh in March 1843. He had aspired to be an engineer but his health was too poor. His brother, John, who was involved in the early experiments with photography in St Andrews, taught him the calotype process. Shortly after opening his studio on Calton Hill, Robert met the painter David Octavius Hill. They worked together for a few weeks on studies for a grand painting of the Free Church of Scotland before entering into partnership to explore the possibilities of photography. Despite Adamson's early death, the two produced some of the most impressive works taken in the medium and greatly influenced later practice in the art.