Robert Adamson & David Octavius Hill

Harriet Farnie and Miss Farnie with a Sleeping Puppy, Brownie

About this artwork

This is one of four calotypes of young girls with David Octavius Hill’s dog, a terrier pup called Brownie. The girls depicted are the Farnie sisters; the eldest one, Annie, protectively holding the younger, Harriet, who is pretending to be asleep. Sleeping children were a recurring theme in nineteenth-century art, as it played on the Victorian fascination with childhood innocence and death. The image is clear and well-defined, which means that the girls must have sat very still for anything from several seconds up to a minute. Although the calotype was taken in the 1840s, this particular print was produced in the photography studio of Jessie Bertram around 1920. In total, 49 ‘new’ prints were made from the original negatives and were subsequently published as an album.

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Robert Adamson

Robert Adamson