This exhibition celebrates an unparalleled collection of Scottish photography from the 1840s through the 1940s – a century of dramatic transformation and innovation.

The chronicle of Scotland’s culture during the mid-19th to early 20th centuries is inseparable from its leading role in the early history of photography itself. Many of the first practitioners and visionaries who impelled the medium forward were based in Scotland or were inspired by Scottish subjects.

The exhibition includes photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Thomas Annan, Roger Fenton, George Washington Wilson, and others who created stunning images of Scotland’s people and places during the 19th century and established precedents for photographers worldwide. In the early 20th century, Alexander Wilson Hill, Mary E. Watts and John Simpson sustained the medium’s alignment with fine art whilst recalling the expressive images of predecessors such as Hill and Adamson.

The MacKinnon Collection is distinguished by the work of photographers who captured unprecedented images that brilliantly transport us back to a century of changing rural communities, growing cities and enduring historic sites, but also illuminate the faces and places that continue to affect our lives today.

The photographs were amassed by collector Murray MacKinnon and acqured with Art Fund support.

PhotographyModern art19th century artEdinburgh


Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 1JD

0131 624 6200

Website

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm. (6pm during August). Open from noon on 1 Jan. Closed 25 – 26 Dec.


Exhibitions nearby


Related exhibitions

Back to top