After the death of Robert Adamson, Hill abandoned photography and returned to painting. However around 1860 he entered a partnership with the photographer, Alexander MacGlashan, which may have lasted no more than a few days. Hill persuaded MacGlashan to work in the Rock House garden on Calton Hill, where this picture was taken. Burd Alane means 'only child'. Hill was particularly sensitive to this notion because he was a widower with an only daughter, Charlotte. She died giving birth to her only son in 1862.