Among the earliest photographers to explore both the artistic and societal possibilities of the portrait were the painter David Octavius Hill and engineer Robert Adamson, partners for just three years before Adamson’s death. Elizabeth Rigby<em>,</em>seen here at age 35, went on to marry Sir Charles Eastlake and, in 1857, to write one of the first histories of photography as a fine art. James Nasmyth, an engineer who developed the steam hammer, holds a compass. Hill and Adamson often shot outdoors because bright sunlight allowed shorter exposure times. They subordinated the background in shadow and bathed the important details of the face and finery in areas of light.

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  • Title: James Nasmyth (1808-1890)
  • Creator: David Octavius Hill (British, 1802-1870), Robert Adamson (British, 1821-1848)
  • Date Created: 1843-1847
  • Physical Dimensions: Image: 19.7 x 14.6 cm (7 3/4 x 5 3/4 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)
  • Provenance: David Octavius Hill, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, David Octavius Hill; Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
  • Type: Photograph
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1987.19
  • Medium: salted paper print from calotype negative
  • Inscriptions: Written in pencil on recto: "H / 1140"; "James Nasmyth (Steam Hammer)"
  • Department: Photography
  • Culture: England, 19th century
  • Credit Line: Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund
  • Collection: PH - British 19th Century
  • Accession Number: 1987.19

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