John Francis Campbell of Islay, 1822 - 1884. [a] (1843 - 1847)
About this artwork
John F. Campbell was heir to Islay until his father was obliged to sell the island. He never forgot the tales that his nurse and the family piper told him in Gaelic as a child, and when he read the work of the brothers Grimm he realised the value of both stories as part of a wider international literature. He became a senior civil servant in London, gained experience in managing large projects, and sent out a talented team to collect Gaelic tales. The result was Popular Tales of the West Highlands, four volumes 1860–62, one of the classics of world folklore. This contemplative portrait shows Campbell in Highland dress.
- title: John Francis Campbell of Islay, 1822 - 1884. [a]
- accession number: PGP HA 480
- artists: David Octavius HillScottish (1802 - 1870) Robert AdamsonScottish (1821 - 1848)
- gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(Print Room)
- object type: Photograph
- date created: 1843 - 1847
- measurements: 20.00 x 14.10 cm
- credit line: Provenance unknown
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
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.