About this artwork

This drawing by Thomas Hamilton shows the Dean Orphanage in Edinburgh before its construction from 1831 to 1833. Hamilton was the architect for the project and an accomplished watercolourist, who may have intended this drawing as a model for an engineer. Built of local Craigleith stone, the building is a curious mix of neo-classical and baroque features. It was designed to accommodate the Orphan Hospital of Edinburgh, which until then had been housed in the grounds of Trinity Hospital. During the 1990s the building was refurbished by architects Terry Farrell & Partners and in 1999 it was reopened by the National Galleries of Scotland as the Dean Gallery. The building now houses important Surrealist works and the Eduardo Paolozzi collection.

Thomas Hamilton

Thomas Hamilton

Thomas Hamilton was a Glasgow-born architect, whose best-known buildings can be found in Edinburgh. These include the Dean Orphan Hospital, now the Dean Gallery, the Royal High School on Calton Hill and the Royal College of Physicians on South Bridge. Hamilton was heavily involved in the 'Edinburgh Improvement Act' and was commissioned to produce two of the great bridges to join the Old and New towns. George IV Bridge was constructed between 1829 and 1834 and the King's Bridge, over King's Stables Road, almost simultaneously. An establishment figure, Hamilton was a founding member of the Royal Scottish Academy.