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Exhibition details for 16192 - Partnership of genius
Partnership of genius
contains 35 images
Partnership of genius
In 1839 the invention of photography was announced to the world. In keeping with the spirit of scientific investigation and discovery that marked Scotland as a nation, the Scots quickly began experimenting with photography including using the calotype process. The early pioneers produced some of the most remarkable and memorable images in the history of photography.

First among them is the collaboration of David Octavius Hill (1802-70) and Robert Adamson (1821-48), a true partnership of genius. Hill was an artist who in 1843 began working on a painting to commemorate the Disruption of the Church of Scotland including all the prominent figures. On the advice of Sir David Brewster, the physicist who had introduced the calotype photographic process to Scotland, he employed the young photographer Robert Adamson to make studies. Their subsequent partnership lasted until Adamson's early death, producing nearly 3,000 calotype images, not only of prominent churchmen, but of many other members of Victorian society, landscapes and most notably the fisherfolk of Newhaven.

This exhibition highlights Scots born pioneering photographers including David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson and their contemporaries Dr Thomas Keith and Mark Napier. The images captured using the calotype process cover a wide variety of subjects including portraits, street scenes and landscape. The quality and timelessness of these photographs means that they remain as valid work of arts today as when they were created 150 years ago.

The Edinburgh Room has one of the most important collections of early photography in the world. The department owns album two of the Edinburgh Calotype Club (the first is owned by the National Library of Scotland) containing 126 of the earliest calotypes ever made. The club formed in the early 1840s, becoming the first photographic club in the world. As well as this album, the collection also consists of hundreds of the works from the world-renowned partnership of DO Hill and Robert Adamson, the breathtakingly beautiful works of surgeon and amateur photographer Dr Thomas Keith and works from other contemporaries. The images within this collection not only capture Edinburgh, but also some parts of Scotland and Europe.