Hill & Adamson: Selected Bibliography

The key publication on Hill & Adamson's surviving work is Sara Stevenson's 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 Galleries of Scotland, 1981). The introduction is a good summary of Hill & Adamson's partnership. The SNPG collection is the largest and most significant holding of Hill & Adamson material and all of its prints are illustrated in thumbnails. Although the SNPG has added to its collection since 1981, this catalogue is so complete that it nearly serves as a working catalogue raisonné for the partnership's entire output.

The most complete single source of full size illustrations of Hill & Adamson's work is in Colin Ford's An Early Victorian Album; the photographic masterpieces (1843-1847) of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976).

This is actually a composite of the contents of three albums formerly owned by the Royal Academy and now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Roy Strong contributed a historical essay to this work.

A significant number of Glasgow's holdings, along with contributions from the SNPG, were exhibited at four venues in Canada in 1987 and 1988. Curated by Keith Bell, the exhibition was preserved in a catalogue: The Photographs of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson (Saskatoon, Canada: Mendel Art Gallery, 1987).

An early and perceptive insight into Hill & Adamson's work is David Bruce's heavily-illustrated Sun Pictures; the Hill-Adamson calotypes (London: Studio Vista Publishers, 1973).

Two other works by Sara Stevenson provide useful illustrations and essays. The first is a catalogue of an exhibition: Printed Light: The Scientific Art of William Henry Fox Talbot and David Octavius Hill with Robert Adamson (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1986). The second is a wonderful synthetic realisation of a work first contemplated (but never executed) by Hill & Adamson. Hill & Adamson's The Fishermen and Women of the Firth of Forth (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1991).

Go to first section: Introduction to the University of Glasgow's Hill & Adamson Collection