This full-length portrait of Reverend Dr. Thomas Guthrie was somewhat unusual for David Hill and Robert Adamson, who generally favored seated positions. In this example the minister stands beside a chair, against a dark tarpaulin backdrop that masks the stone wall behind it. Hill and Adamson's studio was located in the backyard of their Calton Hill residence in Edinburgh. The outdoors location was essential, as the calotype process required direct sunlight to expose the negative.
The photographers made this portrait in preparation for Hill's painting, The Disruption Picture,commemorating Scotland's dramatic religious event of 1843.