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Rock House: A Century of Photography

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

For a century Rock House, Edinburgh, was the studio of a succession of notable photographers. The course will explore their work and achievements, from the pioneering David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson in the 1840s, to Thomas Annan, Archibald Burns, Alexander Inglis, and his son Francis.

Please note, this course includes a field trip (a visit to Rock House and Calton Hill).

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required.

Content of Course

1. Outline history of Rock House and the beginning of photography in Scotland.

2. Discussion of the work and processes of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, Thomas Annan, Archibald Burns, Alexander Inglis and Francis Caird Inglis.

3. A walk to Rock House and Calton Hill.

Teaching method(s)

Illustrated lectures, discussions and being shown and discussing examples of work by these photographers and concluding with a walk to Rock House and Calton Hill.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the influences of Rock House photographers and their place in the context of Scottish photography;

  • Understand the technical processes involved in photography at this time;

  • Analyse the content and composition of photographs;

  • Think critically about the relationship of  photography to other areas of society: artistic environment, social change, travel and tourism.


Core Readings


  • Minto, C. S., 1974. Edinburgh As it Was: Volume 1. Edinburgh: Nelson Hendon Publishing Company.

  • Simpson, Roddy, 2012. The Photography of Victorian Scotland. Edinburgh: EUP.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.