Lady Mary Hamilton (Campbell) Ruthven, 1789 - 1885. Wife of James, Lord Ruthven
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Lady Mary Hamilton (Campbell) Ruthven, 1789 - 1885. Wife of James, Lord Ruthven 1847
  • Scottish Art
This unusual portrait shows that David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson were not only skilful makers of calotypes but also possessed a creative and sophisticated sense of form. Lady Ruthven is posing with her back to the camera and the resulting image is extraordinary and mysterious whilst at the same time reminiscent of every-day Victorian fashion plates. Born as Mary Campbell, she married Lord Ruthven in 1813 and became a painter and a patron of the arts in Scotland. It was said of her: ‘She was not only the friend of Walter Scott, but she held relations more or less close with nearly everyone famous in art and literature, during the greater part of the nineteenth century.’

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.

Patronage

The support given to artists by an individual or organisation, usually through buying or funding their work.

Calotype, Patronage

Details

  • Acc. No. PGP HA 2196
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 20.10 x 15.40 cm
  • Credit Purchased from the estate of Sophia Finlay (Charles Finlay's Trust), 1937