Another of Central Library’s Special Collections ‘hidden treasures’ is a large green volume containing 40 hand coloured engravings called Outlines of the Grampian Mountains published in 1819 by landscape painter and poet George Fennell Robson.
Fennell was born in Durham in 1788 and displayed an early enthusiasm for drawing, acquiring his artistic skills through practice and whatever instruction he could find. He moved to London in 1804 to pursue his career as an artist and made a meagre living selling his work from a carver and gilder’s shop in Holburn. With the profits from the publication of a print A View of Durham, he travelled to the Highlands of Scotland where he spent a year painting landscapes.
The result of his year long trip is the volume we have in our collection . These were all engraved and painted with the artist’s romantic eye, so some of the views may be recognisable to you now, others not so much.Although some of the engravings have been painted in very dark colours, look closely and you can see soldiers in their bright red uniforms defending Stirling Castle, cattle grazing on the hills above Loch Katrine, herons on the side of Loch Tummel and even a woman riding side saddle on a bridge over Loch Tay. You can view all the engravings from this amazing book in our Scenery of the Grampian Mountains exhibition on Capital Collections.