"In the mid-1840s, the Scottish painter-photographer team of Hill and Adamson produced the first substantial body of self-consciously artistic work using the newly invented medium of photography."
This photograph is of the artistic half of that partnership, David Octavius Hill, a romantic landscape painter and secretary of the Royal Academy of Scotland, who “possessed a geniality, a ‘suavity of manner and absence of all affectation,’ that immediately set people at ease…”
An article on Hill & Adamson on the Met Museum site concludes:
"In a time as pervaded as ours is by photographic imagery, it is difficult to conceive that within the first few weeks of their collaboration, Hill and Adamson made more photographs than the two together had ever seen. In four-and-a-half years and nearly 3,000 images, they pioneered the aesthetic terrain of photography and created a body of work that still ranks among the highest achievements of photographic portraiture."