Photography of Victorian Scotland

The Scott Monument seen from Princes Street, Salt print by Hill and Adamson, c 1845 (Special Collections: HA0404)

Following on from our post about Blueprint 2013, anyone interested in the history of photography may like to take a look at ‘The Photography of Victorian Scotland’. This book by Roddy Simpson is described as the first full and coherent introduction to the subject. It shows how photography was related to, and was influenced by, the society and culture of the time and also highlights how photographers in Scotland were at the forefront of developments. It contains 130 photographs, about a third of which come from Special Collections.

Mrs Rigby, Salt print by Hill and Adamson c 1845 (Special Collections: HA0321)

The book includes chapters on amateur and professional photographers, ‘Scots abroad’ and the role of photography in documenting social change. It also discusses the inter-relationship between art and photography; one of the examples given is a comparison of a photograph of ‘Mrs Rigby’ (Anne Palgrave, 1777-1872), taken by Hill and Adamson in the 1840s and the famous portrait of Anna Whistler (1804-1881) painted by her son James McNeill Whistler, dated 1871.  Whistler was aware of and impressed by the work of Hill and Adamson, which may have influenced the composition and tone of the painting.

Roddy, a photographer, writer and historian of Scottish photography, is a regular researcher here and collaborated with us in digitising and researching some of our 19th century photograph albums in the Dougan collection.

Related blog posts:
19th century photographs online: a tour across the world
Victorian lives in pictures

Categories: Special Collections

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