About this artwork

This image shows people skating on St Margaret’s Loch in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, with the Crags and the ruin of St Anthony’s chapel in the background. Ice skating was a very popular winter pastime in Scotland, and the world’s first official skating club was founded in Edinburgh in 1742. According to the records, in order to join the club in 1784 one had to skate a complete circle on either foot, and jump over first one, then two, then three hats. Although similar to Patrick’s picture of skaters on Duddingston Loch, this photograph of St Margaret’s Loch is probably of an earlier date. It was created with the albumen print technique, which was popular until about 1890. This technique used egg white and salt to coat and smoothen the paper on which the photograph was printed.

John Patrick

John Patrick

John Patrick was a commercial photographer who worked in Kirkcaldy in Fife before moving to Edinburgh. He was also an amateur painter. His studio at 52 Comiston Road was 'the haunt' of many literary and artistic figures. Patrick is best known for his portraits of Thomas Carlyle, taken during Carlyle's last visit to Kirkcaldy with his family in 1874. However, the photographer's move to the more competitive Edinburgh market appears not to have been successful. On his death he was 'bereft of all through no fault of his own, unless not having money-sense is a fault'.