CLERK, John.

A series of etchings chiefly of views in Scotland.


A series of etchings chiefly of views in Scotland.

Lizars for the Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1855.

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Fine series of landscape etchings by one of Scotland’s finest amateur artists – the significantly extended second edition.

John Clerk of Eldin (1728-1812), seventh son of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, was a Scottish merchant and amateur artist. On his death his collection of prints and plates were retained by his family and in 1825 the Bannatyne Club issued the first edition of his etchings solely for its members, containing 26 views. After additional plates were discovered the 1855 issue was released by the Club, now containing 76 etchings. The book contains etchings of varying size and from differing stages in his artistic development. Of particular note are his striking panoramic views with fine attention to detail, such as his view of Durham Cathedral. In contrast the book contains smaller etchings showing his experimentation with heavy foreground shading, such as ‘Borthwick Castle from the South West’.

Clerk practised draughtsmanship from an early age but was certainly encouraged to draw topographically by his friend Robert Adam, the eminent architect who became his brother-in-law. Through Adam he was introduced to Paul Sandby, the English painter and printmaker in the late 1740s, and the three men would often take drawing trips together around the region. Clerk began the practice of copper-plate etching around the 1770s and went on to produce over one hundred impressions by 1778.


Folio (51 x 32 cm). Frontispiece portrait by A. Hähnisch after H. Raeburn xxx pp. incl. title, with two unnumbered plates, 55 plates in various techniques, some engraved, some lithographed, many with multiple images, marginal foxing. Recent half red morocco over original cloth, paper label to upper cover; light staining to covers, title label rubbed.

Provenance: Earl of Ancaster (armorial bookplate).



Stock ID: 83184