Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


I 88 OLD ANI) NEW EDINBURGH. [York Place His lordship was so fond of card-playing that he was wont to say, laughingly, ?Cards are my profession-the law my amusement.? He died at Powrie, in Forfarshire, on the 19th of October, 18IL In 1795 Sir Henry Raeburn built the large house No. 32, the upper part of which had been lighted from the roof and fitted up as a gallery for exhibiting pictures, while. the lower was divided into convenient painting rooms, but his residence was then at Stockbridge. Mr. Alexander Osborne, a commissioner of the Board of Customs, resided in No. 40 for niany years, and died there. He was of great stature, and was the right-hand man of the Grenadiers of the First Regiment of Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, proverbially a battalion of tall men, and his personal appearance was long familiar in the streets of the city. In bulk he was remarkable as well as in stature, his legs in particular being nearly as large in circumference as the body of an ordinary person, The editor of Kay mentions that shortly after the volunteers had been embodied, Lord Melville preseqted his gigantic countryman to George III., who on witnessing such a herculean specimen of his loyal defenders in Scotland, was somewhat excited and curious. ??-4re all the Edinburgh volunteers like you?? he asked, Osborne mistaking the jocular construction of the question, and supposing it referred to their status in society, replied, ?They are so, please your Majesty.? ?? Astonishing !? exclaimed the King, lifting up his hands in wonder. In his youth he is said to have had a prodigious appetite, being able to consume nine pounds of steak at a meal. His father, who died at Aberdeen, comptroller of the Customs in 1785, is said ta have beena man of even more colossal proportions. Mr. Osborne lived long in Richmond Street prior to removing to York Place, where he died in his 74th year. During the early years of this century Lady Sinclair of Murkle occupied No. 61, and at the same time No. 47 was the residence of Alexandex Nasmyth, landscape painter, father of Peter, who won himself the name of ? the English Hobbima,JJ and who, in fact, was the father of the Scottish school of landscape painting. In his youth, the pupil of Allan Ramsay, and afterwards of the best artists in Rome and England, he returned to his native city, Edinburgh, where he had been born in 1758 ; and to his friendship with Bums the world is indebted for the only authentic portrait which exists of our national poet His compositions were chaste and elegant, and his industry unceasing ; thus he numbered among his early employers the chief of the Scottish nobZesse. Most of the living landscape painters of Scotland, and many of the dead ones, have sprung from the school of Nasmyth, who, in his extreme age, became an honorary member of the then new Scottish Academy. The firmness of his intellect, and the freshness of his fancy continued uninterrupted to the end of his labours; his last work was the touching little picture called ? Going Home ;I? and he died soon after at Edinburgh in the eighty-third year of his age, in 1840. He married a daughter of Sir James Foulis, Bart., of Colinton and that ilk, by whom he had a large family, all more or less inheriting the genius of their father, particularly his son Peter, who predeceased him at London in 1831, aged forty-five years. On the north side of York Place is St. Paul?s Episcopal church, built in that style of Gothic which prevailed in the time of Henry VI. of England, and of which the best specimen may be seen in King?s College, Cambridge. The building consists of a nave with four octagon towers at the angles, with north and south aisles. The pulpit is at the east end, and immediately before the communion- table. The organ is at the west end, and above the main entrance, which faces York Lanea remnant of Broughton Loan. In the north-west angle of the edifice is the vestry, The length of the church is about 123 feet by 73 feet, external measurement. The nave is 109 feet 9 inches in length by 26 feet broad, and 46 feet in height; and the aisles are 79 feet long by zg feet in height. The ceiling of the nave is a flat Gothic arch, covered with ornamental tracery, as are also the ceilings of the aisles. The great eastern window is beautifully filled in with stained glass by Egginton of Birmingham. This handsome church-in its time the best example of Gothic erected in Edinburgh since the Reformation-was built from a design by Archibald Elliot, and doesconsiderablecredit to the taste and geqius of that eminent architect. It was begun in February, 1816, and finished in June, 1818, for the use of the congregation which had previously occupied the great church in the Cowgate, and who contributed ~ 1 2 , o o o for its erection. The well-known Archibald Alison, author of (? Essays on Taste,? and father of the historian of Europe, long officiated here. He was the son of a magistrate of the city of Edinburgh, where he was born in 1757, but graduated at Oxford; and on the invitation of Sir William Forbes and others, in 1800, became senior incumbent of the Cowgate chapel. After the removal of the congregation to *
Volume 3 Page 188
  Enlarge Enlarge  
Volume 3 Page 189
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures