[Sir David Brewster]

Hill & Adamson1843 - 1844

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Having learned to make photographs directly from William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of the calotype process, the eminent scientist Sir David Brewster brought photography to Scotland in the early 1840s, making the country one of the early experimental centers for the new art. In a July 3, 1843, letter to Talbot, Brewster wrote:

I got hold of the artist [David Octavius Hill] --showed him the Calotype, & the eminent advantage he might derive from it in getting likenesses of all the principal characters before they were dispersed to their respective homes. He was at first incredulous, but went to Mr. [Robert] Adamson, and arranged with him preliminaries for getting all the necessary portraits.

Seeing the opportunity for photography to assist in the process of making preliminary studies for painting, Brewster introduced Hill to Adamson, who had recently opened a photographic studio in Edinburgh. Brewster himself was a member of the newly formed Free Church of Scotland. Using this calotype as a model, Hill included Brewster's portrait in The Disruption Picture.

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  • Title: [Sir David Brewster]
  • Creator: Hill & Adamson
  • Date: 1843 - 1844
  • Physical Dimensions: 19.4 x 13.8 cm (7 5/8 x 5 7/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Salted paper print from a Calotype negative
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XM.445.15
  • Inscription: Secondary Inscription: Recto mount at lower center, in pencil by unknown later hand: "Sir David Brewster" and upper right "5". Verso at lower left: "9213 E [encircled]" and lower right "Hill - Adamson 6".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Classification: Photographs