Although best known today for his contribution to photography, David Octavius Hill was a genre and landscape painter. In this oil painting we glimpse Leith, which was Scotland's main port until the 19th century, and the official port of Edinburgh. Leith dealt in grain, flax, sugar, timber, iron, paper and whisky, the profits from which filled the Edinburgh coffers. The painting explores different kinds of light caused by the low sun, falling directly onto the buildings in the background and filtered through the ships' sails. Note the beggars in the foreground with the little animated wooden figures.