Cardinal Beaton's House, the Cowgate, Edinburgh (1868)
About this artwork
This is one of the images which Burns included in a book, called 'Picturesque Bits from Old Edinburgh' and published in 1868. Although the photographs record the historic buildings of the Old Town, Burns wanted them to be a reminder of the 'pain in the present'; the squalid and overcrowded conditions in which the poor lived. There is nevertheless a lot of charm in this picture and, although, there are no figures in the street, it is clearly inhabited.
- title: Cardinal Beaton's House, the Cowgate, Edinburgh
- accession number: PGP R 814
- artist: Archibald BurnsScottish (died about 1880)
- gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(Print Room)
- object type: Photograph
- subject: Documentary Topographical Cities
- materials: Albumen print
- date created: 1868
- measurements: 10.6 x 8.5 cm
- credit line: Gift of Mrs. Riddell in memory of Peter Fletcher Riddell 1985
Archibald Burns was a professional photographer in Edinburgh, best known for his landscape and architectural images. He published an illustrated book in 1868, called 'Picturesque Bits from Old Edinburgh'. This was a photographic guide to the Old Town, which paid attention to social issues such as overcrowding and poor sanitation. Apart from being documentary, Burns's work is quite obviously picturesque. For an added nostalgic look, he often used salted paper which makes pictures appear old and faded.