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The Royal High School, Edinburgh

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The Royal High School, Edinburgh 17 May 1843

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
The Royal High School on Calton Hill was built in 1829 to a design by Thomas Hamilton. Used as a school until 1966, it has since been considered as a home for other institutions including the Scottish Parliament. The building stands close to Robert Adamson’s former studio on Calton Hill, which he shared with David Octavius Hill. This calotype was printed on 17 May 1843, the day before the Disruption within the Church of Scotland that would bring about Hill and Adamson’s famous partnership. Hill intended to paint a large-scale picture of all those present at this historic event, and the success of taking portrait photographs as memory aids resulted in the men’s close collaboration until Adamson’s untimely death in 1848.

Glossary Open


The first effective version of photography, using drawing or writing paper for both the negative and the positive. The paper was sensitised with potassium iodide and silver nitrate, exposed and developed in gallic acid and silver nitrate.


After years of dissension within the Church of Scotland, in 1843 a group of 150 ministers walked out of the General Assembly to form the Free Church of Scotland. The main issues were the right to veto clerical appointments and the desire of the dissenters to retain their spiritual independence.

Calotype, Disruption


  • Acc. No. PGP HA 958
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 13.40 x 17.30 cm
  • Credit Elliot Collection, bequeathed 1950