James Skene (1775-1864), advocate, antiquarian and confidant of Sir Walter Scott, had a profound sense of Edinburgh as a changing city.
In the early 19th century, he witnessed, at first hand, the demolition of parts of an increasingly unfashionable Old Town as it made way for the New Town of Edinburgh.
Skene was an inveterate draughtsman who had an eye for architectural detail. He recorded the changing face of Edinburgh in a series of over 200 watercolour drawings, and, following an abortive collaboration with Sir Walter Scott, an accompanying journal, known as Reekiana. These now form part of the Special Collections of Edinburgh Libraries.
Credits: Alastair Learmont’s blog about James Skene for Edinburgh City Libraries , dated 28 November 2013. This blog is carried by Alastair Learmont’s words and all credit should go to him. The second half of this blog is based on, and reproduces, some of the work of Connie Byrom in The Edinburgh New Town Gardens: Blessings as Well as Beauties