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Aquatint, panorama of Edinburgh from tower of Calton Hill observatory

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Aquatint, panorama of Edinburgh from tower of Calton Hill observatory
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This hand-coloured aquatint was engraved in 1790 by John Wells from the original watercolour by Robert Barker. It shows a part (one-sixth) of a panorama of Edinburgh from the tower of the Calton Hill Observatory.

The aquatint shows the orrery, or model of the planets in the solar system (named after the owner of the first example, the Earl of Orrery) in the grounds of Calton Hill observatory and is inscribed 'R. Barker delt.', 'J. Wells Aqua Tinta', 'Published as the Act directs. March 25 1790', '4th'.

Robert Barker (1739-1806) was an Irish- born portrait painter, who moved to Edinburgh with his family. In the mid-1780s, while walking with his daughter on Calton Hill he was struck with the idea of reproducing the 'total' view of Edinburgh. His first 360-degree panorama (now in Edinburgh University Library) was 25 feet in diameter, and this aquatint was taken from it.

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