Oct 31, 2007

St. Andrews Castle, from the Southeast

St. Andrews Castle, from the Southeast


David Octavius Hill

(British, 1802–1870)

and Robert Adamson

(British, 1821–1848)

Salted paper print from calotype negative

Image: 19.9 x 18.7 cm (7 13/16 x 7 3/8 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1997.145



This photograph is from a body of work created in 1846 by the pioneering Scottish photographers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. Their ambitious campaign to record the principal buildings and sites of the historic Scottish town of St. Andrews resulted in over 70 known images. From an elevated viewpoint, they made three exposures of this picturesque vista of the ruins of St. Andrews Castle, located on a rocky shoreline jutting into the North Sea. This poetic, evocative print, which may be unique, is notable for its broad areas to light and dark. The diagonal shadow in the left foreground and the curving rock formations guide the viewer's interest to the remains of the castle. Its tall, solid forms occupy the empty space of the sea and sky.

The photographers participated in a wide-ranging, contemporary interest in the architecture, landscape, and history of Scotland. St. Andrews was a particular favorite, since it was the ancient ecclesiastical capital of Scotland and the seat of the oldest university. Built around 1200, the castle was the residence of the bishops and archbishops of St. Andrews. It was last rebuilt in the 17th century but was subsequently neglected.

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