The Fairy Tree at Colinton

Photography Studio: Hill and Adamson (British, active 1843–1848)

Artist: David Octavius Hill (British, Perth, Scotland 1802–1870 Edinburgh, Scotland)

Artist: Robert Adamson (British, St. Andrews, Scotland 1821–1848 St. Andrews, Scotland)

Date: 1846

Medium: Salted paper print from paper negative

Dimensions: 20.8 x 15 cm (8 3/16 x 5 7/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and Lila Acheson Wallace Gifts, 1997

Accession Number: 1997.382.29


Although Hill was primarily a painter of land- and townscapes, he and Adamson made few photographs of those subjects. In several cases where they did, the choice of subject is understandable: their photograph of the sixteenth-century house of John Knox, founding force and passionate voice of the Church of Scotland, resonated because of its connection to the Church and the possibility in 1844 that it might be demolished; the photographs of Greyfriars Churchyard layer local history with romantic connections of mortality. Other photographs, such as the one shown here, seem to have been made more for the sheer aesthetic pleasure of the result: an allover pattern of dappled light seems to bring the leafless tree to life like the first warm rays of spring.