Aquatint, panorama of Edinburgh from tower of Calton Hill observatory

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Postcard of Aquatint, panorama of Edinburgh from tower of Calton Hill observatory.
© National Museums Scotland

Aquatint, panorama of Edinburgh from tower of Calton Hill observatory

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-237-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1972.19
Date: 1790
25 March 1790
Material: Hand-colourd aquatint. Inscription: R. Barker delt. J. Wells Aqua Tinta Published as the Act directs. March 25 1790 4th
Dimensions: 490 mm x 650 mm
What: Aquatint / observatory
Subject: 3. ASTRONOMY, Sundries (Departmental Classification)
Who: J. Wells (Inscribed on the aquatint)
Robert Barker (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Calton Hill Observatory
Description: Hand-coloured aquatint of the Calton Hill Observatory by Robert Barker in 1790
  • Ralph Hyde, Panoramania! the Art and Entertainment of the 'All-Embracing' View, London, 1988, pp 57-58, 62-63 
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