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Dumbarton Presbytery

A work made of salted paper print.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of salted paper print.


March 29, 1845


David Octavius Hill (Scottish, 1802–1870) and
Robert Adamson (Scottish, 1821–1848)

About this artwork

Painter and illustrator David Octavius Hill engaged photographer Robert Adamson to help him fulfill a monumental commission to commemorate the so-called Disruption of 1843, in which the Free Church of Scotland was formed when a group of ministers seceded from the country’s established church. Hill wished to portray each of the nearly 450 participants at the Disruption Assembly, and found an efficient means of doing so by working from photographs, specifically the recently patented paper negative process, which Adamson had begun practicing professionally earlier that year. Together, Hill and Adamson made around 2,500 images in the short period before Adamson’s illness and death; it then took Hill 20 years to complete the painting. This is one of the few carefully composed group portraits that Hill eventually transferred almost unchanged onto canvas—he painted one man as bald, however, to reflect his later appearance.

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Photography and Media


David Octavius Hill


Dumbarton Presbytery




Made 1845


Salted paper print


Inscribed recto, on hinged matte, upper right, in graphite: "17"; recto, on hinged matte, along bottom edge, in graphite: "Presbytery of Dumbarton / Alexander of Vettillianof [?] Gordsie [?] ? Rev. Boumer [?] / Schwarz 2.35 Amlocker [?] Cardron [?] Q1060jx"; unmarked verso


14.1 × 19.2 cm (image/paper); 19.2 × 28.2 cm (hinged matte)

Credit Line

Photography Associates Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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