Sun Pictures in Scotland depicts Talbot’s travels through the region in October 1844, inspired by the life and writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). The 1830s and 1840s was a period of intense interest in the Scottish poet. The 200-foot-high Scott Monument in Edinburgh was nearly completed when Talbot photographed it, and he included it as the second plate in Sun Pictures.
The uneven quality of the plates in most copies of Sun Pictures is likely due to the unfavorable environmental conditions in which they were made, and many prints likely started deteriorating immediately. According to Talbot scholar Larry J. Schaaf, fewer than 25 copies of Sun Pictures in Scotland are believed extant. Schaaf locates at least nine in institutional collections, including The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and The University Library, St. Andrews. Only a handful of copies have appeared at auction since 1970.
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