his is an interesting and rare little pen and ink study of Edinburgh from Calton Hill. It is now over 200 years old.
It was made only a few years after the famous panorama of the city was drawn by Robert Barker. The panoramic view appears to have come from a sketchbook and the view was too large to fit onto one sheet - but was continued onto two sheets and joined in the middle. The join is evident in the middle of this artwork.
It is inscribed with the title and dated indistinctly 1819 (as photographed).
The work is a panoramic topographical view showing the recently constructed Nelson Monument to the left - and James Craig's Old Observatory to the right. This is before the development of Calton Hill and its architectural embellishments of the site only a few years later. The date of 1819 is further confirmed by some of the architectural details in the sketch. The Old Tron Church is still standing (the old steeple was destroyed some five years later in the Great Fire of 1824). Robert Adam's Bridewell is at the foot of Calton Hill in the foreground. In the distance - the Mound is still devoid of any buildings - there is no Royal Scottish Academy and no National Gallery. The Mound is still shown as a simple slope from the Old Town linking the New one. The old North Bridge is shown in the centre - and a very light depiction of the Castle is in the far distance. There are still fields in the distance - and the Moray Estate developments have not started.
The sketch was made around the time of JMW Turner's trip to Scotland in 1818 to make illustrations for Walter Scott's Provincial Antiquities of Scotland - and also pre-dates the 1822 trip by King George IV. Stylistically it looks very like the quick light sketches that Turner made in the early 19th century or sketches of the city by James Skene of Rubislaw.
Despite its delicate and slightly faint draughtsmanship - it is interesting historically as an early study from Calton Hill and relates to the interest in Barker's panoramic views from this site. It is certainly fascinating that my drawing actually shows an early-round rotunda building right at the foot of Mound at its juncture with Princes Street. The artist has inscribed this "Panorama". The garden space on the south of Princes Street is still completely undeveloped and the drainage of the Old Nor' Loch is still underway. This depiction of the Panorama Rotunda so far down the Mound space is most interesting as it is one of the earliest views of one sited at the very foot of the Mound here that I have seen. It would probably be showing Barker's painting of Edinburgh from Calton Hill - or perhaps large paintings in the round of the Battle of Waterloo - which was another popular panoramic subject at this time.
Detailed panoramic drawings of the architecture of Edinburgh from this date are now rare survivors. This sheet should really be in a specialist collection such as the City Art Collection or the Historic Environment Scotland collection.
I have taken lots of images and close-up details for your inspection.
It is beautifully framed with a gold frame and a nice line wash mount. Dimensions: The frame is 31 x 55 cm. The image is 11 cm x 36 cm.
Condition: the drawing has been very delicately drawn in pen and ink. It is on two sheets from a sketchbook joined together. The join is noticeable in the centre of the image. The sheet is without issue - with no spotting or disfiguring discolouration. It has been difficult to photograph - and have taken a lot of images of details in the little sketch. It is nicely framed for hanging straight on your wall. The rarity and early date of this drawing are reflected in my asking price.
UK postage only. This will cost £10 and will be applied to your order at checkout. In Edinburgh - we can deliver the artwork to you for free.