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EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
FOR MARCH 1812.
Description of Largo House.
THIS elegant mansion is situated in the parish of Largo, and county of Fife. It lies on the west side of Largo Law, at the distance of a mile from the sea, and commands one of the finest and most extensive prospects in Scotland. A little to the north are the remains of the old house, which consist almost solely of a single round
The barony of Largo has been repeatedly possessed by persons distinguished in the history of their country. During the reign of James III. it was held in tack by Sir Andrew Wood, the brave and faithful commander of the Scottish army. In consideration of two signal victories obtained by this officer, James IV. conferred upon him the final property. So entirely was this eminent person devoted to the habits of a seafaring life, that he formed a canal between his house and the church, to which he sailed in a barge.
Largo came afterwards into the family of Durham, by whom it is still held. One of the most distin
guished of its members was Mr James Durham, brother of Sir Alexander Durham of Largo, who, from being Captain of dragoons, became one of the leading supor ters of presbytery, in the reign of Charles I. He was minister of the high church of Glasgow, and was also appointed chaplain at court. When Oliver Cromwell was at Glasgow, Mr Durham had the boldness, in preaching before him, to animadvert severely on his conduct in the invasion of Scotland.
In the town of Largo, was born Alexander Selkirk, whose singular story is well known to have suggested to Defoe the idea of his popular romance of Robinson Crusoe. An original document, and some other particulars relative to this noted personage, will be found in our Number for Sept. 1805.
In the middle of a plain near Largo house, there are three remarkable stones, standing upright, and measuring six feet above the ground, and, as is supposed, as many in depth. There are also fragments of a fourth stone, of similari dimensions.
dimensions. They are
little more force to keep pace with the middle ground; but this defect we would rather ascribe to the materials, than to the artist.
without inscriptions; but, according to tradition, are the grave stones of some Danish chiefs, who fell in a battle fought near this place.
Observations on Mr Wilson's Exhibi tion of Drawings in Water Colours.
W the intention announced in
E now proceed, according to
our last, to make some remarks on the principal pieces in this very meritorious collection.
1. A view of Tivoli.-This splendid landscape which exhibits a view of perhaps the most picturesque spot in the world, seemed during the exhibition of Mr Wilson's drawings, to draw the principal attention of the public, which we do not wonder at, considering that the scene from which the drawing is painted, has attracted the attention of all the great landscape painters from the Poussins to the present day. The point of view is admirably adapted to give a correct idea of the situation of Tivoli, and the effect of light is, we believe, properly adapted to such a subject. We should suppose him a poor artist indeed, who could not produce a pleasing picture of Tivoli; but to chuse the best point of view, and best effect at the same time, is that which distinguishes the man of genius from the herd of view-takers. The luminous appearance of the sky, and the gradations of the tones of colour from the distance to the middle grounds are exquisite; and the artist-like manner of distributing the light and shadow over the buildings, is certainly inferior to nothing that any painter has attempted on the subject. The foreground is extremely well composed, and we have only to regret the want of a
2. The Baths of Caracalla.-This picture, though not so interesting with respect to subject, as the preceding, is equally great in regard to execution; the luxuriant glow of a brilliantsetting sun, which diffuses itself over the picture, produces an impression on the spectator extremely
pleasing, and disposes him to con
sider the instability of all human greatness, in contemplating the ruins of these monuments of Roman luxury and grandeur. The foreground is most beautifully composed, and at the same time kept down to aid the brilliancy of the great luminary which is still more supported by the opposition of two dark pines on the foreground; and the impression of freshness, as well as warmth, is extremely well expressed by the cool tones of the distant part of the sky, which are most beautifully broken and blended with the warmer tones of the thin clouds catching a small portion of the sun's rays. In comparing this drawing with the preceding, we should hesitate in giving the preference to either.
3. View of Rome.-What we have said of the preceding drawings, may in every respect be applied to this picture. We believe that its situation in the room, made it appear to great disadvantage, and we have no doubt that the heaviness which appeared in some parts of it would entirely disappear, had it been placed in a stronger light. This drawing, and No. 1, are to be engraved by that excellent artist Mr Turner of London, who, we have no doubt, will do them both ample justice.
4. St Giovanni in Laterani-In the drawings before mentioned, Mr
Wilson has presented us with the representation of the more simple effects of nature: in the one, however, at present under consideration, he has shewn that he can move with equal success in the higher department of landscape painting, where mediocrity has no place, and want of complete success implies total failure. The uninterrupted breath of light and shadow, produce an effect equally grand and pleasing, and the artist has judiciously avoided entering too much into minutiæ, which, how eyer proper in the picturesque style, would be altogether out of place here the only defect which struck us in looking at this drawing, was rather a want of dignity in the group of trees which pervades the rest of the picture.
We believe we have mentioned the principal drawings that were exhibited, although there were many others worthy of the artist's reputation, and we looked with great delight upon the few studies from nature that were shewn at the same time with the furnished drawings, which shewed that the artist looks at nature with the real feeling of a
within their bounds to make a collection at the doors of their respective churches, for carrying on this building; and, on Sunday the 8th of March last, a collection was made, at the doors of many places of public worship in the city of Edinburgh, for this necessary and benevolent purpose. This intended collection was intimated from the pulpits, on Sunday the 1st March; and many of the clergy recommended this charitable establishment to their congregations in the strongest terms. We are informed, that one respectable clergyman, after reading the representation from the Managers of the asylum, addressed his hearers nearly in the following words
"My Dear Friends-I shall not detain you at present with any tedious exhortation. It is one great object of the instructions which you hear from your established pastors, to form you to that charity which is the fulfilling of the law, and the bond of perfectness;' and your conduct hitherto hath given us no cause to complain that we have run in vain, and laboured in vain.'
"The institution for which I plead at present is intended to alleviate and remedy a species of distress, the most deplorable to which in this imperfect state we are liable.
"I appeal to your own hearts, while I look around this numerous assembly; I ask you all in succession, Whether, excepting the misery which arises from conscious guilt, there is another species of distress which you would more earnestly intreat the Almighty to avert from yourselves, and from all who are dear to you.
"I need not wait for a reply. I know it is your earnest prayer, that, whatever else may befal you, whether poverty or pain, or sickness or death, it may please the Lord, even
to the last, to preserve to you the exercise of your reason, which is the image of himself within you.
"If this then be a prayer which you would offer up for yourselves and your friends, pity the condition of those for whom I now request your charity; and come to the house of God, to testify your gratitude to him, for his goodness to you, by showing kindness to some of the most wretched of his offspring.'
This short, but energetic, address had probably a good effect on many of the hearers. And, we are not without hopes, that it will also have some influence on many readers.
We subjoin a list of subscriptions lately received by Mr BONAR, Banker, Royal Exchange, Treasurer to the Asylum. And, as example goes even farther than precept, it is to be hoped that this also will have a good effect,
Do. a Lady by Dr Simpson
Lady Yester's Church
Old Gray Friars Church
New Gray Friars
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