About this artwork

This topographical engraving is a double picture of the city of Edinburgh and was made from an original drawing by James Gordon of Rothiemay.  It was drawn to accompany his picture plan of Edinburgh which was completed in 1647. The engraving gives us a glimpse of how Edinburgh would have looked in the 1600s – the area that we now call the ‘Old Town’. It is split into two halves presenting the viewer with two different aspects. The top half shows Edinburgh when viewed from the south. The lower half shows the view from the north of the city. Edinburgh Castle can be seen to the far left in the top section of the engraving, and again in the lower section from a different viewpoint to the far right. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, which can be seen at the top right-hand section of the engraving, was located at the end of the Royal Mile and home to the royal court (the extended royal household). In the late 16th and early 17th centuries the court was the heart of royal and political life and could accommodate up to 600 individuals.

Published June 2022

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