Hugh Miller Hill, David Octavious  (Scottish, 1802-1870)Adamson, Robert  (Scottish, 1821-1848)

Mezzotint Engraving from "a Talbotype" of Hugh Miller. Photograph by Hill and Adamson (uncredited), engraved by John Sartain. Contains reference to being copied from a Talbotype: it is unusual to find this, especially in the United States. This illustration is from one of Hill and Adamson’s earliest photographs, dating from 1843. Miller killed himself in 1856.

The resemblance between the calotype, drawing and printmaking is commented on by critics of great and lesser knowledge. Hugh Miller, after his contact with the first work of the Hill and Adamson partnership, spoke or it in terms of drawing: The connoisseur unacquainted with the results of the recent discovery, would decide, if shown a set of photographic impressions, that he had before him the carefully finished drawings in sepia of some great master.
The stronger lights, as in sketches done in this colour, present merely the white ground of the paper; a tinge of sort warm brown indicates the lights of lower tone; a deeper and still deeper tinge succeeds, shading by scarce perceptible degrees through all the various gradations, until the darker shades concentrate into an opaque and dingy umber, that almost rivals black in its intensity.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Stevenson, Sara. The Personal Art of David Octavius Hill. New Haven [Conn.: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for the Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, 2002.  p34