David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)
Robert Adamson (British, St. Andrews, Scotland 1821–1848 St. Andrews, Scotland)
Salted paper print from paper negative
19.9 x 15 cm (7 13/16 x 5 7/8 in.)
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Manfred Heiting and Lila Acheson Wallace Gifts, 1997
Not on view
The vast majority of Hill and Adamson photographs show the ministers of the Free Church, notable residents of Edinburgh and distinguished visitors, or the hardy fisherfolk of Newhaven and Saint Andrews. On occasion, particularly in their portraits of the ministers-sober and all dressed alike-Hill and Adamson fell into formulaic patterns based on academic portrait painting. But there is no doubt that they were among the medium's most gifted portraitists, and one need only look at works such as this mysterious portrait of Lady Ruthven-reminiscent of Victorian fashion plates-to understand that Hill and Adamson possessed not only a profound human sensitivity but also a creative and sophisticated formal sensibility.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount: "Lady Ruthven"; RSA stamp on mount
From a set of presentation albums assembled and given by David Octavius Hill to the Royal Scottish Academy (1852); deaccessioned by the Royal Scottish Academy (1977); [Thackrey & Robertson, San Francisco]; John Rubel, San Francisco; William Rubel, Santa Cruz, California; [Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs, New York]
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," February 4, 1989–April 30, 1989.
National Gallery of Australia. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," June 17, 1989–August 27, 1989.
Royal Academy of Arts. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," September 23, 1989–December 23, 1989.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Inventing a New Art: Early Photographs from the Rubel Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1, 1999–September 19, 1999.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 32," May 14, 2002–September 8, 2003.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 61," February 12, 2013–June 2, 2013.
Schaaf, Larry J. Sun Pictures, Catalogue Eight: The Rubel Collection. Sun Pictures. New York: Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, 1997. p. 33.
Daniel, Malcolm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin: Inventing a New Art: Early Photographs from the Rubel Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art 56, no. 4 (Spring 1999). p. 18.