19th-Century Photographs by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson

David Octavius Hill (1802-70), a painter-photographer from Perth, and Robert Adamson (1821-48), from Burnside near St Andrew’s, paired up to work with a newly invented media of calotype photography in the mid-1940s. Within their four-year partnership, ended by Adamson’s sudden death, they created 3000 photography of portraits and landscapes in Edinburgh and surrounding areas. Their pioneering work of photography, created by the combination of Hill’s artistic mind and social connections and Adamson’s talent for mechanics, are records of Victorian Edinburgh and inspired later generations.


About 700 out of 3000 photographs are kept at the University of Edinburgh’s Heritage Collections and available online under CC-BY license.




Reference: Schaaf, Larry J. “Hill, David Octavius (1802–1870), painter and photographer.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sep. 2004; Accessed 13 Dec. 2023. https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-13270.

Header: David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Calotype Portraits vol.I f.75r; vol.III f.217r; vol.III f.242r; vol.V f.356r, University of Edinburgh, CC-BY, 2023.