John Clerk of Eldin (1728-1812) was one of many extraordinary men who made their mark in 18th century Scotland, in a period known as the Age of Enlightenment. He was connected with several significant Edinburgh figures recognised for their work in Art, Science and Philosophy. Many were close friends including Robert Adam, the renowned architect, and the eminent geologist James Hutton for whom Clerk provided geological illustrations for the latter’s seminal publication Theory of the Earth.
Part of Clerk of Eldin’s legacy is the 100 and more landscape etchings that he made between 1770 and 1778/9. As someone who always travelled with a sketchbook, he was encouraged by his ‘virtuosi friends’ to etch his views. This he did, teaching himself the technique at a time when etching was not widely used by Scottish artists. This book outlines Clerk’s background, his life, his etching technique and sources of influence, as well as his thoughts on art and landscape. Clerk’s etchings reflect a growing new appreciation of Scotland and its historic landscape, from both within and without the nation that parallels a rise in national travel and philosophical debates concerning the sublime and the beautiful.
This new book was published to mark the 200th anniversary of Clerk of Eldin’s death on 10th May 1812. While the main focus is on John Clerk of Eldin’s etching, the book outlines Clerk’s life, examines his enthusiasm for drawing, and looks into the technique and influences on his style of etching.
Published by Enterprise Editions 2012 - Hardback - 180 pages - 3 colour, 147 black/white illustrations - 210 x 210 mm
Price: £35 (P&P free within UK)