David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson

Piper and Drummer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle

About this artwork

The 92nd Gordon Highlanders were stationed at Edinburgh Castle between July 1845 and April 1846, having returned from the West Indies and before their move to Ireland, and later the Ionian Islands and Gibraltar. At the time, Hill was making preparations for his painting ‘Edinburgh Old and New’, now also in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. His famous partnership with photographer Robert Adamson originated from the idea of creating photographic studies for large paintings, and in 1846 Hill returned to this idea. Their series of calotypes of the Gordon Highlanders also includes some of the members of the Drums & Pipes, whose role it was to lead the troops into battle and keep up morale.

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David Octavius Hill

Robert Adamson

David Octavius Hill

A painter and a lithographer by training, David Octavius Hill is best remembered for the beauty of the calotypes he and Robert Adamson produced together. Hill was a sociable and kind-hearted man who did much to support the arts in Scotland and between 1830 and 1836 he was the unpaid Secretary of the newly established Royal Scottish Academy. After Adamson's death, Hill's attempt to start a new partnership with the photographer Alexander MacGlashan around 1860 failed. Hill is to this day revered as one of the first in the trade who transformed photography into an art form.

Robert Adamson