Jessie Mann

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Jessie Mann
Women thought to be Jessie Mann.jpg
probably Jessie Mann
Born20 January 1805
Died21 April 1867
NationalityUnited Kingdom
OccupationPhotographer and assistant

Jesse Mann (20 January 1805 – 21 April 1867) was the studio assistant of the Scottish pioneering photographers David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson.[1][2] She is "a strong candidate as the first Scottish woman photographer"[3][4] and one of the first women anywhere to be involved in photography.[5]


Mann worked in the Hill & Adamson studio, Scotland's first photographic studio in "Rock House", on Calton Hill, Edinburgh for at least three years, until it closed after Adamson's untimely death. She went on to become a school housekeeper.[1][2]

It is reasoned that a print in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, of the King of Saxony in 1844, taken at the studio whilst Hill and Adamson were unavailable, was taken by Mann. The portrait was known to have been taken by an assistant to Hill and Adamson.[1] Tate curator Carol Jacobi says this demonstrates that "she must have been part of their skilful understanding of how you set up a photograph, so she is a real pioneer."[2] A letter from the painter James Naysmith to Hill, written in 1845, praises Mann as "that most skillful and zealous of assistants".[4]

Mann was included in the 2016 exhibition at Tate Britain, Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age.[2][6][7]


  1. ^ a b c John Hannavy (2007). Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Photography. Taylor & Francis. p. 888. ISBN 9781135873264.
  2. ^ a b c d Crompton, Sarah (6 May 2015). "She takes a good picture: six forgotten female pioneers of photography". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  3. ^ Roddy Simpson (2012). The Photography of Victorian Scotland. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 9780748654642.
  4. ^ a b Miller, Phil (13 April 2011). "Scottish woman who was a camera pioneer". Glasgow: The Herald (Glasgow). Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  5. ^ Miller, Phil (16 April 2016). "Is this the mysterious Scottish woman who helped pioneer photography?". Glasgow: The Herald (Glasgow). Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age". Tate. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Painting with Light". Tate. Retrieved 12 May 2016.