The J. Paul Getty Museum

[D. O. Hill]

Object Details


[D. O. Hill]


Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 - 1848)


Scotland (Place Created)




Salted paper print from a paper negative

Object Number:



19.4 × 13.7 cm (7 5/8 × 5 3/8 in.)

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Object Description

In the numerous portraits made by Hill and Adamson (David Octavius Hill [1802-70] and Robert Adamson [1821-48]), Hill is by far the most popular subject. He appears in more than forty calotypes, often as part of a group arrangement. Photography provided him with the opportunity to quickly explore new positioning and lighting; placing himself in front of the camera expedited these experiments. In this image he stands against the doorway of Rock House, the photographers’ residence, perfectly at ease and completely composed.

Hill clearly saw his role in the partnership as providing artistic direction. Regarding the technical side of photography, he confessed in a letter of March 12, 1845, to his friend and fellow artist David Roberts (1796-1864), "I know not the process though it is done under my nose continually and I believe I never will." Adamson, concerned more with the chemical and technical aspects of the medium, occupied a behind-the-scenes role and, as a result, appears in very few photographs.

Anne M. Lyden. Hill and Adamson, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999), 34. ©1999, J. Paul Getty Museum.

1974 - 1984

Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., American, 1921 - 1987


Antoniewicz, Ruben, Paul S. Philippou. The Early Photographers of Perthshire (Perth, Scotland: Tippermuir Books Ltd., 2016), p. 24, no. 35, ill.