Town Plans / Views, 1580s-1940s

Map Detail
Name: Barker, Robert, 1739-1806  
Title: [Panorama of Edinburgh from the Calton Hill]  
Imprint: [S.l., 1790]
Pagination: 1 view ; 42 x 330 cm, folded to 42 x 56 cm.
Shelfmark: EMS.b.5.2
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Notes: Robert Barker was born in County Meath, Ireland, but was resident in Edinburgh’s High Street from 1786, earning his income as a portrait painter and teacher of perspective drawing. He is credited as the inventor of the panorama, patenting in 1787 ‘an entire new Contrivance or apparatus called “La Nature à Coup d'Oeil” for displaying Views of Nature at large’. This was a circular building, accessed from below and naturally lit from the top, carefully confining the visitors’ perspective to the painted image alone.
During his years in Edinburgh, Barker quickly realised the advantages of Calton Hill for his 360-degree perspective, and used the Guard Room in Holyrood Palace as his studio. His 25’-diameter painted panorama was exhibited in Edinburgh at the Archers’ Hall and Assembly Rooms to great success, and went on to popular acclaim in Glasgow and London. This is a reproduction of the original painting, aquatinted on six sheets by J. Wells.  

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