The date of 1860 on the second mount is likely to be the date when the site was visited by the original owner of the album.
The photographs in this and the following seven lots comprise large format architectural views by Roger Fenton, the majority dating from 1856 and taken on his first photographic trip to Scotland. The sites selected there, and represented here by Roslin Chapel and Melrose Abbey were of both historical and architectural interest and the subject of contemporary debate regarding their preservation and restoration. They were also embedded in the popular imagination through their inclusion in the romantic poetry and prose of the period.
In France, as early as 1851, the government commissioned the leading photographers of the period to travel the country to use the new medium to document important architectural sites for the Mission Héliographique. As a direct result of this early patronage the historic architecture of France is a major subject of French photography in the 1850s. There was no similar structure or patronage for architectural photography in Britain at this time, with the result that large scale photographs of such subjects from this period are comparatively rare. Roger Fenton, one of the undisputed masters of the medium in the 1850s, travelled around Britain on his own initiative photographing sites of architectural importance and exhibited his prints to much acclaim. Such large format prints, particularly signed salt prints, are now extremely rare.
Photographs of Roslin Chapel were exhibited by Roger Fenton at the Photographic Society of Scotland (1856); Photographic Society of London (1857); the Art Treasures Exhibition, Manchester (1857); and the Société Française de Photographie.