David Octavius Hill with his daughter, Charlotte
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David Octavius Hill with his daughter, Charlotte Probably 1843
  • Scottish Art
David Octavius Hill was a respected painter and secretary of the Royal Scottish Academy before he entered into the famous partnership with Robert Adamson. A handsome, sociable and cheerful man, Hill was much loved within Edinburgh society. In 1837 he married his first wife, Ann Macdonald, who died in 1841, leaving him a widower with an only child. Charlotte, nicknamed Chatty, was born in 1839 but died in her early twenties. This photograph shows the affection Hill felt for his daughter. At the same time, this particular pose provided a practical way of holding the child still, as exposure times for the early calotypes could run into several minutes.

Glossary Open

Calotype

The first effective version of photography, using drawing or writing paper for both the negative and the positive. The paper was sensitised with potassium iodide and silver nitrate, exposed and developed in gallic acid and silver nitrate.

Exposure

The length of time a photosensitive surface is exposed to light. The term ‘multiple exposure’ is used to describe the act of recording more than one image on a single sheet or frame of film.

Calotype, Exposure

Details

  • Acc. No. PGP EPS 90
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 16.60 x 12.60 cm
  • Credit Edinburgh Photographic Society Collection, gifted 1987