David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson (Scottish, 1802-1870 & 1821-1848)
Jeanie Wilson and Annie Linton, Newhaven, "They were twa bonnie lasses", circa 1845
Salt print from a calotype negative
19.0 x 13.6 cm mounted on 37.4 x 26.2 cm grey paper
"58" noted in pencil on mount verso
Among the earliest photographers to exploit both the artistic and documentary potential of the portrait, D. O. Hill & Robert Adamson made a survey of contemporary life in the picturesque fishing village of Newhaven, just outside Edinburgh. In Jeanie Wilson and Annie Linton, an 1845 salt print from a calotype negative in the series, the photographers saw that the true character and beauty of the fishwives was intimately connected to their way of life and the precarious nature of their ties to the hard-working fishermen, often absent at sea. The traditional dress of the fisherwomen lends itself particularly well to the calotype medium. Hill & Adamson’s skillful deployment of light and shade and their positioning of the sitters is a fine example of early portraiture and a sought after example of their work.