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Leith Pier

Reference URL

Leith Pier About 1870

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
The mixture of steamboats and sailing ships in this picture gives us a good idea of the thriving trade in Leith during the nineteenth century. Wilson ably recorded the vitality and prosperity of the place in a series of photographs after it was considerably enlarged in the middle of the century. A generous empty space in the foreground puts us right out to sea with the steamboat in the far ground. The silhouettes of the masts thrust up into the sky and the thick dark smoke drifting across are a further demonstration of Wilson's talent for spotting good compositions and shooting contre-jour.

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Contre-jour, À

A French word that literally translates as ‘against day’, used in English to mean backlighting - the illumination of an object or figure from behind.


Images showing an outline with no internal detail set against a contrasting background. It is specifically used for portraits of this type cut from paper.

Composition, Contre-jour, À, Silhouette


  • Acc. No. PGP R 205
  • Medium Albumen print
  • Size 16.3 x 24.2 cm
  • Credit Gift of Mrs. Riddell in memory of Peter Fletcher Riddell 1985