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James Nasmyth, 1808 - 1890. Inventor of the steam hammer About 1844

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This is one of a number of calotypes showing James Nasmyth, the son of the painter Alexander Nasmyth and a close friend of David Octavius Hill, in a reflective mood. He was an engineer and invented the steam hammer and pile driver, which revolutionised industry and engineering work across the world. He took a keen interest in photography as he considered it ’a delightful means of educating the eye for artistic feeling, as well as educating the hands in delicate manipulation’.

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.



  • Acc. No. PGP HA 541
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 19.90 x 15.20 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown