The Scott Monument (About 1845)
About this artwork
The decision to build the Scott Monument was taken at a public meeting in Edinburgh less than a month after Sir Walter Scott's death in September 1832. The tall Gothic structure was not completed until the autumn of 1844 and the official inauguration took place only in August 1846. Hill and Adamson were lucky to be resident in Edinburgh and could document the building stages and the work of the masons. Here the monument is shown after its completion as an impressive feature bordering Princes Street, seen from the East End.
- title: The Scott Monument
- accession number: PGP HA 434
- artists: Robert AdamsonScottish (1821 - 1848) David Octavius HillScottish (1802 - 1870)
- gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(Print Room)
- object type: Photograph
- subject: Cities Walter Scott
- materials: Calotype print
- date created: About 1845
- measurements: Arched top: 15.80 x 20.60 cm
- credit line: Provenance unknown
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
David Octavius Hill
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.
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.