[Officer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders Reading to the Troops, Edinburgh Castle]
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)
April 9, 1846
Salted paper print from paper negative
14.5 x 19.2 cm (5 11/16 x 7 9/16 in. )
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and Harriette and Noel Levine Gifts, 1997
Not on view
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, the artists found authentically engaging subjects in contemporary life. This photograph may have served as a study for Hill's painting Edinburgh, Old and New, but it is also an affecting photograph in its own right, a peek between the castle cannons at the elite group of soldiers, seemingly unaware of the camera as they concentrate on the orders of their seated sergeant. Their slight movement enlivens the scene and gives a sense of immediacy, while the bearskin hats, elaborate military coats, sporrans, and argyle socks provide a lush and lively pattern of tone and texture for the eye.
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]
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 11, 1989–April 30, 1989.
Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," June 17, 1989–August 27, 1989.
London. 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.
Stevenson, Sara. David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson: Catalogue of Their Calotypes Taken Between 1843 and 1847 in the Collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland, 1981. fig. 24.
Weaver, Mike. The Art of Photography 1839-1989. London: Yale University Press, 1989. pl. 37.