James Drummond was an accomplished artist and antiquarian, who specialised in history paintings. He studied at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh and was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1852. Between 1848 and 1859 Drummond produced a series of pencil and wash drawings of closes, streets and buildings in Edinburgh. They were later published as lithographs in a folio volume entitled ‘Old Edinburgh’. In 1868 Drummond became curator of the Scottish National Gallery, a position he held until his death in 1877. An admirer of the new medium of photography, he was a member of the Photographic Society of Scotland and owned two albums of Hill and Adamson’s calotypes.