Robert Adamson & David Octavius Hill

Charles William Peach, 1800 - 1886. Coastguard; naturalist and geologist

About this artwork

Charles Peach was a mounted coastguard officer and a distinguished amateur naturalist and geologist. As a coastguard he had plenty of opportunity to study marine life and as a result he discovered new mollusca, sea urchins, starfish, sponges and a spectacular holothurian – or sea cucumber – with twenty tentacles. In 1853 he made an important fossil discovery in limestone on the coast near Durness, Scotland. Peach had a wide circle of scientific and literary friends, including the famous geological writer Hugh Miller (1802-1856). This calotype is one of the more successful portraits taken by Hill and Adamson at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in York, in the autumn of 1844.

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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.