David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson

Linlithgow from the railway station, with the Town Hall, St Michael's Church and the Palace in the centre background

About this artwork

This early calotype was taken from Linlithgow’s recently-built railway station and shows a view of the town to the north-west. Clearly visible is Linlithgow Palace, a ruin since a fire destroyed the building in 1746. Built around 1425 by James I of Scotland and his successors, it was the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots. During the fifteenth century, work was started on the reconstruction of St Michael’s Church which had also been devastated by a fire. The church took 115 years to rebuild. Numerous changes have since been made to both the interior and exterior, the most recent of which is the modern metal spire that was erected in 1964.

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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