David Octavius Hill Biography

David Octavius Hill




David Octavius (or Octavus) Hill was born in 1802 in Perth, Scotland. A landscape and portrait painter and photographer, Hill was Secretary to the Scottish Society of Arts 1830-8, and again after its incorporation in the Royal Scottish Academy. He was a commissioner of the Scottish Board of Manufacturers in 1850, and was influential in the founding of the Edinburgh Art Union. _

In cooperation with photographer Robert Adamson (1821-1848) he created over 3000 calotype images, including what may be the earliest photograph of a railway at Linlithgow. The images feature Scottish landscapes, such as the Land of Burns 1841 and a series done on Newhaven fishermen and women. His painting of 'The First General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland: signing the Act of Separation and Deed of Demission - 18th May 1843' has been hailed as the first work of art painted with the help of photographic images, and indeed Hill has been described as the first artist to apply photography to portraiture. In his testament Hill renounces his marital right to the income of his wife, Amelia Paton, made from her work as a sculptor. He is buried in the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh, where there is a bronze bust of him by his widow.