Charles Peach was a mounted coastguard officer and a distinguished amateur naturalist and geologist. As a coastguard he had plenty of opportunity to study marine life and as a result he discovered new mollusca, sea urchins, starfish, sponges and a spectacular holothurian – or sea cucumber – with twenty tentacles. In 1853 he made an important fossil discovery in limestone on the coast near Durness. Peach had a wide circle of scientific and literary friends, including the famous geological writer Hugh Miller. This calotype is one of the more successful portraits taken by Hill and Adamson at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in York, in the autumn of 1844.