Wednesday, May 15, 2013

National Library Scotland Release Hutton Architecture Drawings

George Henry Hutton must have cut an interesting figure in the late eighteenth century, fascinated as he was by architecture in spite of losing an eye while serving a soldier in the Royal Artillery in the West Indies.

The National Library of Scotland certainly seem to think so and have added documents and drawings of Scottish churches and monuments from Hutton's collection to their digital gallery.


The collection is presented across two volumes and contains over 500 drawings, maps, plans and prints relating mainly to ecclesiastical buildings with a few more depicting castles and other dwellings such as this one showing the ruins of Innerwick Castle in East Lothian. Many of the drawings are by Hutton himself and show a sketchy, graphic style at odds with the picturesque scenes depicted. In some of the featured images the artist is unknown, however thanks to Creative Commons licensing, most can be reproduced, thereby forming a rich image-bank for architecture historians. Short blurbs for each image provide more contextual information.


One of the interesting quirks of the collection is that many of the buildings cited still exist today. Try entering in the name of a historic Scottish building or area into the National Library's search engine to see if Hutton recorded any details of your research area over two hundred years ago.

What's more, links can be made between the collection and GSA Library. The above image for example, entitled 'Part of Balmerino [missing text]' appeared in Volume 1 of Francis Grose's book, 'The Antiquities of Scotland,' a copy of which is held in the GSA Library's Special Collections. Check our thematic guide to rare books written about Scotland if historic architectural illustration and photography inspire your research.