Detail from The Prospect of the South Side of Edinburgh
Frederick de Witt (1629–1706), after Rev. James Gordon of Rothiemay (about 1615–1686)
Published 1647, engraving
There were several royal residences in Scotland, including Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, and the Palaces of Linlithgow, Dunfermline, Falkland and Holyroodhouse. Throughout the year James frequently moved between these different properties.
This topographical engraving gives as a glimpse of how Edinburgh would have looked when viewed from the south – what we now call the ‘Old Town’ - in the 1600s. Edinburgh Castle, James’s birthplace, can be seen at the far left of the engraving. The official residence and the location of the court (James’s extended royal household) was the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which can be seen to the far right of the engraving, located at the end of the Royal Mile. The court was the heart of royal and political life and could accommodate up to 600 individuals. There was even a zoo in the grounds, with Thomas Fenton, the zookeeper, responsible for beavers, a lynx, a tiger and a lion.