About this artwork

One of Hill and Adamson's most effective portraits is that of the sculptor Sir John Steell, who is best known for his statue of Sir Walter Scott for the Scott Monument in Edinburgh. This portrait of Steell is remarkable for its strength and simplicity and could serve as a model of Romantic practice in photography. The body of the sculptor appears as a dark, undefined shape. His right hand, indicated by an edge of white cuff, is sunk in his coat, suggesting depth. His head and other hand are supported on an off-centre diagonal. The vague, mottled background reinforces the 'romantic' effect. This image is one of several calotype prints from the same negative and was gifted by the Edinburgh Photographic Society.

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David Octavius Hill

Robert Adamson

David Octavius Hill

Robert Adamson