About this artwork

This carte de visite shows Robert Louis Stevenson as a young man. Stevenson, son of the lighthouse engineer, Thomas Stevenson, is best known as the author of 'Treasure Island', 1882, and 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', 1886. Born in Edinburgh, he was a sickly child and was dogged by tuberculosis for most of his adult life. In 1873 he was sent to Menton on the French Rivera to recuperate. This seemed to help and he returned to Edinburgh in 1874 to resume his studies. It was probably around this time that this photograph was taken by the Edinburgh-based photographer, John Moffat.

John Moffat

John Moffat

John Moffat's family moved from Aberdeen to Edinburgh when he was seven years old. His first business dealt in engraved and chalk/crayon portraits. In 1853 he set up his photographic studio in Princes Street where it remained for more than a hundred years. He was principally a portrait photographer, but he also produced stereoscopic photographs. Apart from being a successful businessman, he was also an amateur painter and musician and had eight children, of whom several were as multi-talented as their father.