Scranalogue

Culture Heritage Learning

Robert Louis Stevenson

21st November 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

02050089Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the most famous Scottish writers of the 19th century, perhaps his best known works being Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Body Snatcher & Kidnapped.

Early Years

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born on November 13 1850 in Edinburgh to parents Thomas Stevenson and Margaret Balfour. The Stevenson family were already well known as Thomas and his father, Robert Stevenson, were both famous lighthouse designers and engineers. From them, Robert Louis inherited his adventurous nature that would stimulate his imagination and spark his interest in literature. As a child Robert was severely ill due to a weakness in his lungs which he inherited from his mother. His health improved with age and after a troublesome time at Edinburgh Academy he entered Edinburgh University at the age of seventeen. Lacking the necessary approach for engineering, he instead pursued law and was called to the bar at twenty-five. This was a reserve plan to fall back on should his true passion – literature – fail.

The Traveller

rcahms1a_00998241A man who saw great romance and art in all aspects of life, Stevenson decided to travel. This was most likely in search of better health but also for adventure. As a writer, he craved stimulation for his imagination and he created notes of all he saw. His travels took him to Grez-Doiceau, Belgium and France where he visited Nemours and Paris often. A canoe trip in 1878 inspired his travelogue An Inland Voyage and later Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. He also wrote a number of articles and essays to generate income. Two years before this, he had met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, an American divorcee, in France and fallen in love. A few months later she returned home and fell ill. When the news reached him, Stevenson, against the advice of his friends, departed for San Francisco. The journey from New York to California almost killed him. However, it inspired his works An Amateur Immigrant and Across the Plains. He eventually arrived in San Francisco with scarcely any money at all. By the end of winter 1879 his health declined once more. Fanny nursed him back to health.

Master of Literature

In May 1880 he and Fanny married. They would spend the next seven years seeking a suitable environment for his ever declining health. Having suffered so terribly in winter during his life, they would reside in Scotland and England during the warmer months, and spend winters in France . His greatest works were created in this period: Treasure Island, The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Kidnapped. He also published two volumes of poetry: A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods. Stevenson’s father died in 1887. In June 1888 Stevenson chartered the yacht Casco and he and his family sailed around various locations. This period also saw the production of further work including: The Master of Ballantrae, The Bottle Imp and The South Seas.

The Latter Years

In 1890 Stevenson and his family mo06375482ved to the Samoan island of Upolu where he would live out his final years. He named his estate Vailima, meaning “Five Rivers”. His literary work and reputation was influential and the locals would consult him for advice. They named him the Tusitala – the Teller of Tales. His interaction with the locals led him to observe that European rule was less than benevolent and he published the highly critical A Footnote on History. Given his literary power, his work caused two officials to be recalled. As well as supporting the natives and building his estate, Stevenson published further works such as David Balfour and Ebb Tide. He also wrote the Vailima Letters in this period. With his health waning, Stevenson became depressed and concerned that his creativity was being exhausted. His spirit refused to succumb and he began his masterpiece, the Weir of Hermiston. He apparently remarked: “It’s so good that it frightens me.” He would not complete it. On December 3 1894, after working on his book, Stevenson collapsed in the company of his wife. He was 44 when he died as a result of a cerebral haemorrhage. The natives surrounded his body and carried their Tusitala upon their shoulders to a cliff top where he was buried.

Imagery © Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Historic Environment Scotland, Dundee Central Library –  Licensor Scran

Sir Walter Scott

20th September 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

00880041

Sir Walter Scott by Sir Henry Raeburn 1822

Regarded as one of Scotland’s most popular writers, Sir Walter Scott produced an exemplary body of work, notably his famous Waverley novels.

Childhood

Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh on the 15th of August 1771. He was born in a house on College Wynd where the Old College building of Edinburgh University now stands. He was the 9th child of Walter Scott, writer to the Signet, and Anne Rutherford. At the age of two he contracted polio which rendered him lame for the rest of his life, often walking with a limp. To attempt to cure his illness, he was sent to live with his grandfather, Robert Scott, at Sandyknowe, near Smailholm, in the Scottish Borders. It was his time spent at Smailholm where he developed his love of the Borders. In 1778 he returned to Edinburgh. By now the Scott family were living in grander accommodation at 25 George Square.

Early career

Scott began his education in October 1779 at the High School of Edinburgh. His education was interrupted by a period of ill health and he was again sent to Sandyknowe. One year later he returned to the city and to his studies. In 1786, he was apprenticed to his father’s law firm; however he soon decided he wanted to become a lawyer and returned to Edinburgh University where he qualified as an advocate in 1792. He practiced as an Advocate in Edinburgh where he dealt with more provincial matters, his first Edinburgh case not presented until 1795.

When Scott met Burns

The only known meeting between Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns took place during the winter of 1786/87. At a house on Sciennes House Place they both attended the literary salon of Scott’s university friend Adam Ferguson. This meeting had a lasting impression on the young Walter Scott.

Family life

canmore_1145901

Abbotsford House

Scott married French-born Charlotte Carpenter in Carlisle on the 24th of December 1797. Following the wedding, they moved into rented accommodation at 50 George Square, Edinburgh. Their first child, Sophia, was born in 1799 prompting Scott to seek more stable means of employment. He successfully petitioned Henry Dundas, controller of Crown patronage in Scotland, for the position of Sheriff-depute of Selkirkshire. Between 1801 and 1806, Charlotte gave birth to three more children; Walter, Anne and Charles. The growing in size of the family meant Scott had to find more sizable accommodation and so built 39 Castle Street in Edinburgh’s New Town. It was this house that was to become Scott’s winter residence. Scott was to also have properties in Lasswade on the banks of the River Esk and also Ashestiel near Selkirk but he eventually found a prized home in Cartley Hole Farm near Melrose, which he was to rename Abbotsford.

Scott the Writer

Since childhood, Scott had maintained a strong interest in the literary world. He wrote his own poetry as well as collecting celebrated works by Shakespeare and Fielding. At university he formed the Poetry Society and was an avid member of the Literary Society. His position as the Sheriff-depute allowed him considerable time to work on his poems and novels and also gave him ample time to collect various ballads pertaining to the Borders. Regarded as his first major piece of work, ‘The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’ was published in 1800 though it wasn’t until the release of ‘The Lady of the Last Minstrel’ in 1805 that he was to find popular acclaim. Scott’s status as a writer was rising and demand grew for his works. ‘Marmion’ was published in 1807 selling 28,000 copies over three years. It was followed three years later by ‘The Lady of the Lake’ which broke all previous sales records and proved his popularity in Britain as well as the United States of America.

The Waverley Novels

02250027

First edition of “Waverley”

In 1814, Walter Scott published his first novel Waverley. This was to become a series of novels, each depicting periods of Scotland’s history. Scott’s romantic view of Scottish history gave rise to the boom in tourism throughout the Victorian period as his books became popular with new audiences. The ‘Waverley’ novels, as they became known, spanned 28 books including well known titles such as ‘The Heart of Midlothian’, ‘Ivanhoe’ and ‘Rob Roy’. The last volume was published in 1831 shortly before his death. Scott published most of his works alongside his childhood friend James Ballantyne, whom he met at Sandyknowe. Scott became a silent partner in Ballatyne’s publishing company, successfully encouraging him to move his works from Kelso to Edinburgh. It was a business relationship that saw Ballantyne become his publisher and editor.

Financial Ruin

Due in part to Scott’s passion for his home at Abbotsford, which he frequently extended and renovated, he built up sizeable levels of debt. He would have lost Abbotsford had he not signed over ownership to his son. To raise vital funds he sought advancement in royalties for books not yet published. This was a risky strategy that paid off as his popularity as a writer continued into the late 1820s.

Visit of George IV

In 1822 King George IV made the first visit to Edinburgh by any monarch since the mid-17th century. As a baronet, awarded for the discovery of the ‘Honours of Scotland’ in 1818, Sir Walter Scott was instrumental in organising the royal visit, promoting the best of what Scotland had to offer. It was during this visit that the wearing of the kilt once again became popular.

Scott’s Death

In May 1826, Scott’s wife, Charlotte, died. He channelled his energies into his writing to pay off debts amounting to £140,000. This was to the detriment of his health. In the final years of his life he suffered a stroke and haemorrhaging as the strain of his personal life and his finances took hold. Sir Walter Scott died on the 21st of September 1832 and was buried next to his wife at Dryburgh Abbey. His debts were eventually paid off following posthumous sales of his novels and collections of poetry.

01090470

Scott Monument, under construction 1844

Sir Walter Scott remembered

In the years following his death, a subscription was raised for the building of a national monument to honour Scott as one of Scotland’s greatest writers. Designed by George Meikle Kemp, the Scott Monument was opened in August 1844.

“And come he slow, or come he fast, It is but death who comes at last.” Sir Walter Scott, ‘Marmion’ (1808)

 

 

 

Image © Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Historic Environment Scotland, The City of Edinburgh Council, Special Collections-Glasgow University Library | Licensor Scran

Uptown Top Rankin

24th February 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

Whenever new records (individual images, videos or sounds) get added to Scran, they’re uploaded in batches or, as we call them, Projects. These Projects are discrete blocks of material, usually on a particular topic or theme. If you find a Scran record that you enjoy, you can click the “View All Records in Project” link in the caption metadata- the bits of extra info under the postcard-sized image- and see more related materials. Similarly, you can see all the Projects that we’ve uploaded by clicking on the word Search in the red toolbar at the top of any Scran page, selecting Projects, and then selecting Find All.

Screen shot

Click Search then Projects

The titles and subjects of these Projects vary. The first one uploaded (number 001) was The Kilmartin Monuments, while the most recent at the time of writing (number 1128) collects images of Edinburgh taken by Italian students. Between then and now, we’ve uploaded projects on Product Design (number 950), Montserrat (number 911), the collection of Orkney’s Pier Arts Centre (number 687), as well as over a thousand more. Sometimes these Projects contain only 20 images or so, occasionally even fewer. The largest, the V&A Collection (number 930), numbers nearly 26,000 images.

Usually these Projects, once loaded onto Scran, are not revisited or revised by our staff, save for minor edits, typos, additional info being added etc. All of which makes Project number 540, Scottish Writers, a little unusual. A few weeks ago, one of our IT staff- thanks, Sven- noticed that the project was never fully completed, and all the submitted video clips were not uploaded. Why this should have happened is unclear, the reasons lost in the mists of time.

However, we’ve now rectified this and, some 16 years after submission, the videos now appear in full on Scran!  They’re definitely of their time, being short and quite low resolution, BUT the content is terrific. You can now see Ian Rankin, Iain Crichton Smith, Theresa Breslin, Anne Lorne Gillies, Tom Pow, Julie Bertagna, Alan Spence, Alison Prince, Cathy MacPhail, Bernard MacLaverty, Carl MacDougall, Des Dillon, Dylis Rose, George Mackay Brown, janet Paisley, Janice Galloway and Joan Lingard talking about, and reading from, their work. This material will be particularly useful to language and literature teachers, but anybody interested in Scottish literature in its “golden age”, as Iain Crichton Smith described it, will find these archive clips fascinating.

Ian Rankin

Author Ian Rankin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image © SLAINTE | Licensor Scran

Great Scots

2nd October 2015 by Scran | 1 Comment

Our hard-working colleagues in the Scots Language department of Education Scotland have just unveiled their new “hub”, offering links to Scots language resources, guides to how to use Scots within the English language and literacy curriculum, and a history of the Scots language among other goodies. You can find the hub here. The team also run the Scots language “Blether” on Glow, and you can see this at http://bit.ly/scotsblether

Mairi Robinson, editor of the Concise Scots Dictionary, Edinburgh, 1985The Scran image shown here, incidentally, is of Mairi Robinson. Under Mairi’s editorship the Scottish National Dictionary and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue were updated and combined to form the Concise Scots Dictionary. It was first published in 1985 by Aberdeen University Press. In 1987, a revised edition of 820 pages was published. The dictionary contains words used from the twelfth century to the present, with meanings, pronunciations and origins included.

Image: ©National Museums Scotland. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

Views of North Berwick & Vicinity (2)

1st October 2015 by Scran | 1 Comment

John MarrSo far this week Law Primary School have thrown themselves into their research & investigation using Scran.

Yesterday, P5 used their digital detective skills to look at local heroes. The class then applied impressive, creative writing skills to produce some brilliant biopoems – all about local father & son, John & Freddy Marr. Here’s a sample of their hard work…

John or Daddy

Friendly, Brave, Jolly, Caring

Father of Alfred, Grandad of Chris

Who loved gannets, coastal nature and communicating with local people

Who felt happy, free and calm

Who feared damage of nature, hate and sharks

Who wanted to see dolphins jumping and red sunsetsIMG_0100

Who lived in North Berwick

Marr

Written by Rosie P5

Image © Portrait of John Marr, East Lothian Museums Service. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

Let There Be Light!

24th September 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Scran celebrates National Poetry Day 2015 with a series of movie montages celebrating this year’s theme of light – tying in with the UNESCO Year of Light – and offering inspiration from the archives.

It’s National Poetry Day on Wednesday 8th October. This annual event celebrates poetry in all its forms across the country. This year the theme is light, marking the United Nations International Year of Light 2015.

To celebrate and provide inspiration for your own creative works, Scran has delved deep into its digital collections and found a range of material which explores light in interesting ways. Three two-minute movie montages have been created so far, using still images, moving images and sounds from www.scran.ac.uk. These are now available to view on the site.

Light and Dark layers rural landscapes, urban landscapes and seascapes with imagery of Scottish skies showing the changing light at different times of day. Human experiences are evoked through film and oral testimony and include torchlit processions and memories of wartime blackouts. Poetry and song add atmosphere to the piece.

Light and Dark

Man Made Light explores ways in which light is generated through a range of human activities, including domestic lighting, lighting for safety at sea and on the roads and light and heat generated through industrial processes. There are Oral testimonies from former factory workers and archive footage is juxtaposed with contemporary colour film.

In Light and Shadows, grainy black and white stills of early 20th century cityscapes are set against the wide open spaces of the Highlands. Human figures and forms in nature cast interesting shadows in their surroundings. Poetry readings echo themes of darkness and light.

There’s a fourth and final movie to come – watch this space for more information.

Watch all the Inspiration from the Archives movies on Scran

Try these other websites to find more resources to support teaching and learning for National Poetry Day 2015: Scottish Poetry Library | Education Scotland

Image taken from Sun being obscured by black clouds © Edinburgh Film Workshop Trust / Comataidh Craolaidh Gaidhlig (sync rights CoG): Copyright owner: Computerised Time-lapse Library. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk