Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s most treasured cities. Queen Victoria herself said, ‘The view of Edinburgh from the road before you enter Leith is quite enchanting: it is, as Albert said, fairly-like and what you would only imagine as a thing to dream of, or to see in a picture.’
We are delighted to have a set of prints of Edinburgh in our collection. The set comes from a limited edition series published in Edinburgh in 1880 by Thomas George Stevenson entitled Edinburgh in the Olden Time displayed in a series of Sixty-Three Original Views This unique pictorial record of Edinburgh in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is a fantastic snapshot of the architecture and landscape of the city in that era.
It is always enjoyable to look at the prints and see how the landscape and architecture has changed over the years. The print shown above, which depicts ‘A Birds Eye View of St. Giles’s Church,’ offers a detailed view of the church and its distinctive spire.
St. Giles’s Church has been the subject of many artistic renderings over the years, including two nineteenth century prints and an early colour postcard depicted above.
And here is the church today: it is clear that the facade has not changed much in the past century.
One of the most iconic views of Edinburgh is the dramatic vista looking up the hill toward the Castle. This print, entitled ‘The Castle of Edinburgh from the West,’ captures the grandeur and power of the castle with the rocky crags and high walls surrounding the edifice.
The castle, like the church, is depicted on numerous occasions by various artists, and they all emphasise the towering heights upon which the castle was built.
This birds eye view of the castle from Braun & Hogenberg’s 581 publication Civitates Orbis Terrarum helpful shows the elevation of the hill where the castle stands and accounts for the dramatic views captured by the other artists looking up at the castle from the town below.
And once again, the print doesn’t lie: the castle looks remarkably similar to the print by Stevenson with its fortified walls and imposing stone facade.
We have a collection of twelve prints from Stevenson’s publication available, which have now been mounted and held in hand painted frames, and it is possible to compare each of the 19th century prints with their modern day counterparts. To learn more about this set, please have a look on our website here or be in touch directly by email here.