An Early Victorian Album: The Photographic Masterpieces (1843-1847) of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson is a 363-page cloth-bound hardcover, a Borzoi Book, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. First published in 1974, this copy published in 1976. The dust jacket has a tear across the bottom portion of the spine and general shelf rubbing. The book has minor bumping to the upper spine. Inside, the pages are crisp and clean.
One of the supreme treasures of photography is here assembled first time in a book. This early Victorian album is the work of two pioneer Scottish photographers, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, who in the year 1848, scarcely a decade after the birth of the camera, selected what they considered to be their finest pictures for presentation to the British Royal Academy. These photographs subsequently disappeared--were lost for more than a century--and, were rediscovered in 1967.
The two men came by different routes to photography. Hill was a painter, using the photograph in lieu of the documentary sketch to be refined on his canvases; Adamson, a chemist. They began working together in 1843, and in Edinburgh--at that time one of Europe's leading cultural centers--they were almost immediately recognized as masters of the camera. They photographed scenes in village life, of Edinburgh with its cobbled streets and stone houses, of the surrounding countryside. But most of all they focused on people, on faces--Scottish notables, working people, fishermen and fishwives from Newhaven on the Firth of Forth, beautiful children. Their photographic portraiture was an astonishingly sophisticated use of a new medium. Employing the laborious calotype process, they achieved a simplicity, a revelation of character and emotion perhaps unsurpassed to this day. They looked for, and captured, those human qualities--serenity, uprightness, innocence--most revered in the Victorian world.ISBN: 0-394-49733-3