About this artwork

D O Hill is probably best known as a pioneer photographer, but he was also an accomplished landscape and figure painter, working both in oil and watercolour. In the 1830s, Hill produced many paintings and drawings that were used to illustrate books. This study was included in the 1840 publication of 'The Land of Burns'. The drawing shows a moonlit landscape looking down the banks of the River Doon to the Burns Monument and the Auld Brig o'Doon, scene of the climax of Burns' poem 'Tam O'Shanter'. Hill's use of monochrome tone is perfect for depicting this romantic location bathed in moonlight.

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.