About this artwork

Hill was trained as a painter but became famous for his pioneering work in photography (with his partner Adamson). He often exhibited photographs alongside his landscape paintings. This view of Edinburgh was based on photographs Hill made in 1846 and many of the figure groups were also inspired by the camera. The vantage point is from the Edinburgh Castle, looking east, down the Royal Mile. The New Town is on the left. The Royal Scottish Academy is the classical building at the foot of The Mound, and the empty site beside it was where the foundations of the National Gallery of Scotland were laid in 1850.

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.