Robert Adamson & David Octavius Hill

Rev. Peter Jones or Kahkewaquonaby, 1802 - 1856. Indian chief and missionary in Canada [b]

About this artwork

Born in Canada, Peter Jones’ father was a Welsh-born, American immigrant and his mother was of Ojibwa Indian ancestry. He grew up as a Native-American Indian with the name ‘Kahkewāquonāby’, meaning sacred waving feathers. Following his father’s wishes he was baptised by the Methodist church which led to his role as an Indian missionary. To fundraise he toured the United States and the United Kingdom, giving speeches and sermons to captivated audiences. He arrived in Edinburgh in July 1845 and this calotype is one of a series showing Jones in both Indian attire and western clothes. These are some of the oldest surviving photographs of a North American Indian.

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Robert Adamson

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.