Major Crawford, Major Wright, Capt. St. George, and Capt. Bortingham of the Leith Fort Artillery
Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)
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
14.3 x 19.5 cm (5 5/8 x 7 11/16 in. )
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and Lila Acheson Wallace Gifts, 1997
Not on view
The Scottish painter-photographer team of Hill and Adamson, among the first practitioners to be recognized as artists in the new medium, exploited the paper negative's tendency to soften details and to exaggerate light and shadow in dramatic chiarascuro effects, imparting a Rembrandtesque quality that was much admired. On occasion Hill and Adamson ventured into full-blown genre, costuming and staging literary scenes reminiscent of popular tableaux vivants, but in other cases, such as this one, they found authentically engaging subjects in contemporary life. As Leith Fort was no longer in use by the 1840s, the artists probably imported the four artillerymen from a nearby post for this snapshotlike study in jauntiness.
Inscription: Stamped on mount: "RSA"
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]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 37".
Crocker Art Museum. "Masterworks of Photography from the Rubel Collection," January 9, 1982–February 21, 1982.
Achenbach Graphic Arts Council. "Masterworks of Photography from the Rubel Collection," January 1, 1984–February 1, 1984.
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.
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. 49.