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James Drummond Collection


As part of their final project RCAHMS Skills for the Future Trainees, supported by Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, have digitised an album of drawings by James Drummond.

James Drummond (1816–77) was a renowned artist and antiquarian. He was born in Edinburgh at John Knox’s House and trained as a draughtsman. Drummond is most well known for history paintings such as The Porteous Mob (1855), held in National Galleries Scotland. In 1848 he became a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, later a member of Council and Joint Curator of the Museum. From 1868 until his death in 1877 he was also curator of the Scottish National Gallery. Drummond published numerous articles on antiquarian subjects, such as Scottish Mercat Crossses, and posthumously, many of his drawings were published as Sculptured Monuments in Iona and the West Highlands and Old Edinburgh. The collection at RCAHMS includes original sketches reproduced in these publications.

The Drummond Collection was deposited at RCAHMS in 1975 as part of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Collection. It comprises an array of drawings and watercolours of archaeological and architectural sites throughout Scotland. The sites drawn by Drummond range from Dirleton Castle in East Lothian to standing stones such as Clach A’ Charra in the Highlands as well as a large number of mercat crosses. Drummond’s drawings reflect growing antiquarian interests during the 19th century and stand today as both works of artistic merit and invaluable visual records of many sites that have since been altered or destroyed.

Highlights from the collection can be explored below.