Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

John Clerk of Eldin (1728 - 1812) Exhibition

Craigmillar Castle drawing

Craigmillar Castle etching

The exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of the death of one of Scotland’s finest amateur artists.

Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm; Sunday 12pm - 5pm

Who is this for? - All

Dates: 3 November 2012 - 3 February 2013

Cost: Free

John Clerk of Eldin is well known to art historians of 18th century British art, and he is often included in exhibitions and publications relating to the work of other 18th century figures, namely Robert Adam, the architect, and of Paul Sandby, the well-respected English painter and printmaker. In addition, his geological drawings are highly valued by geologists as the illustrations provided for Dr James Hutton’s seminal 1790s publication ‘A Theory of the Earth’. However Clerk’s etchings have never received a major overview, which the exhibition aims to redress. This anniversary year provides a perfect opportunity to highlight the prints of this remarkable man.

John Clerk was also a prolific recorder of Scottish castles. Among his works are engravings of Borthwick, Duart, Clackmanan, Craigmillar (above), Stalker, Lochmaben, Newark, Roslin, Ravenscraig and Rothesay Castles.

However, caveat, he could not resist a tendency to ‘romanticise’ in some of his work. While Craigmillar and Roslin are immediately recognizable, others such as Ravenscraig and Borthwick are almost pure fantasy. Again, he adds details that are simply not there such as extra corbelling at Rothesay and what appears to be twin gate towers at the now much reduced Lochmaben.

A book accompanies the display, 'The Etchings of John Clerk of Eldin' with 3 colour and 147 black and white illustrations at £35.

The exhibition is at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh.

Added: 06 Oct 2012 Updated: 05 Dec 2014
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