Sir David Brewster
Sir David Brewster
by David Octavius Hill, and Robert Adamson
7 5/8 in. x 5 7/8 in. (194 mm x 149 mm)
Given by an anonymous donor, 1973
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Sitterback to top
- Sir David Brewster (1781-1868), Natural philosopher and academic administrator. Sitter in 18 portraits.
Artistsback to top
This portraitback to top
The Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster was a founder member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1831) and a key figure in the early history of photography in Britain. Much of his own experimental work was devoted to optics - he invented the kaleidoscope and the lenticular stereoscope - and was the close correspondent of Fox Talbot, the inventor of the negative/positive process of photography. It was Brewster who persuaded Robert Adamson to make a career of calotype photography and who introduced him to the painter David Octavius Hill. Together the two men created some of the most enduring images in the history of photography. They photographed Brewster posed as if absorbed in his reading.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 21
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 75
Portrait setback to top
Events of 1843back to top
Current affairsSir Henry Cole commissions 1,000 copies of the first Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley. Cole would later be instrumental in staging the Great Exhibition, and in developing science and art education in Britain.
Nelson's statue, by E.H. Bailey, is placed on top of its column in Trafalgar Square.
Art and scienceThe Theatre Regulations Act is passed, abolishing the privileged position of the 'major' theatres which held letters patent from the crown, allowing all theatres to perform 'legitimate' theatre.
First volume of Ruskin's Modern Painters published, praising Turner and demanding that artists should demonstrate 'truth to nature' in their work. Ruskin is a great inspiration to the Pre-Raphaelites.