David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson

Charlotte Lockhart, later Mrs Hope. Grand-daughter of Sir Walter Scott (About 1846)

About this artwork

Charlotte Lockhart was the granddaughter of Sir Walter Scott, who called her his ‘little whippety-stourie’. This portrait by Hill and Adamson shows her on the edge of adulthood and marriage to barrister James Robert Hope in 1847. On the death of her brother in 1853, Charlotte and her husband inherited Scott’s Abbotsford estate and adopted the name of Hope-Scott. Charlotte died in 1858 at the age of only 30. Her husband’s biographer, Robert Ornsby, described her as ‘a very attractive person, with a graceful figure, a sweet and expressive face’, but added that her ‘heavy chin’ resembled that of her famous grandfather.

David Octavius Hill

Robert Adamson

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

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.