David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson David Octavius Hill, 1802 - 1870. Artist and pioneer photographer [w] 1843 - 1847


Born 1802
Died 1870
Nationality Scottish
Birth place Perth
Death place Edinburgh

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.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms

Documentary photography

A style of photographs that presents straightforward records of events, people and places, often recording important historical or political moments.


A nineteenth century movement among photographers who explored the artistic potential of the new technology, looking to paintings for stylistic models.