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Dickson, Archibald, 1703–1747
Drawings of houses and gardens.
Great Britain, 1736-1743.
Physical Description:
1 v. (circa 280 pages, with blanks) : ill., plans ; 32 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NA7620.D53 D73 1736+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Drawings & Watercolors
Little information is recorded for Archibald Dickson, of Pontefract, Yorkshire. The present volume includes a page of detailed notes about Dickson and his family. He was born 4 July 1703, and died 27 November 1747. In Pontefract on 14 December 1726, he married his wife Ann, with whom he had four sons and four daughters. There is no indication that Dickson was an artist or an architect by profession, although a note in the present volume mentions that he studied with a Patrick Edgar circa 1739.
Dickson's drawing (on leaf 59) entitled "Lawder, Forth, Shire of Mers, Earl Lawderdale" is discussed in "A house for the Earl of Lauderdale," by Catherine Cruft, in The country Seat (London : Allen Lane, 1970), p. 88-90. Cruft concludes, "It seems possible that this drawing represents a project for remodeling Thirlestane Castle ... the design--perhaps a crude essay by Dickson himself--dates from the 1730s or 1740s, and would in that case have been offered to Charles, 6th Earl of Lauderdale ... who died in 1744. What is certain is that a new house of Lauder (or Thirlestane) was never built in accordance with this drawing."
Armorial bookplate of James Dickson, Esq., of Ednam, in the County of Roxburgh.
Bound in contemporary Cambridge-style calf; clasps lacking.
On 18th century Dutch laid paper. Watermark: a lion on a platform surrounded by a circle with an inscription ("Propatria Eiusque Libertate") and surmounted with a crown. Counter mark "GR" with a crown and a circle outside.
Country seat (1970), pages 88-90
Volume of drawings of houses, gardens, and other topographical scenes, mostly British, drawn and compiled by Archibald Dickson, from 1736 to 1743. The volume also contains various texts, original and copied, in Dickson's hand. Writing is in black ink throughout. Drawings are also in pen and black ink; some are embellished with watercolors or gray wash. The volume appears to have been bound after composition, as the chronological order of dated elements is quite jumbled. Many of the drawings are executed on sheets half as big as the full leaves in the volume.
The volume begins with 44 pages of garden drawings. All of the garden plans are formal and geometric in design. They are all untitled, except one labeled "Badsworth Gardin." This section also includes plans for several mazes. The second section, 22 pages, comprises drawings of "Houses & Gardins." Here, Dickson depicts elevations of various houses, together with plans for their gardens. Again the drawings are untitled, except one incomplete drawing of a house (without garden) titled "The hous of Esquir Crowl at Friorston, drawn by a scal of 24 foot to the inch, by Archd. Dickson, taught by Patrick Edgar, Febraury 2d, MDCCXXXIX."
There follows another section (50 pages) of drawings of houses and prominent public buildings, in which almost all the edifices are named. The drawings depict buildings located in England and afar, from the town hall of Leeds to "Genosas Hous in the City of Panama, burnt by Captain Morgan Buckener of America on the 4 July 1784 A.D." Given the great geographical dispersion of of buildings depicted, it is reasonable to assume that Dickson did not draw them all (or perhaps any) from life. He may have copied them from engravings in published works. This section concludes with "A plan of Chagre [i.e. the River Chagres, at San Lorenzo, Panama] taken by Admiral Vernon 1740." The next section comprises "landskipes," or elevations of various towns in England and afar, from Hull to Astrakhan. The most colorful of these is a depiction of the English siege of Tournai, in 1709. The final sections of drawings depict "oblisks, crosses, [and] town halls" (12 pages) and castles (72 pages). Many of the castles are drawn at a small scale, with numerous drawings to a page. It is likely that these drawings were also copied from known engravings.
Interspersed throughout the volume are various writings (mostly copied verse) and genealogical notes. These include, near the front, a full-page depiction in color of the Dickson arms, and a page of detailed genealogical information (including birth dates) for Archibald Dickson, his wife Ann, and their children. The final section of the volume (62 pages) is primarily textual. It includes: "The names of colours proper to adore maps or garden draughts," with recipes for making the colors; recipes for "plumb cake" and "puff paste for tarts"; mathematical story problems; verse; "Collections of Salmon's Polygraphice," with recipes for colors, varnishes, cleansers, gilding, cosmetics, and traditional medicine; an astrological calendar, and various astronomical information. In this section, Dickson has also affixed a number of small engravings of castles, churches, and topographical views.
Subject Terms:
Architecture, Domestic -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Astrology -- Early works to 1800.
Astronomy -- Early works to 1800.
Castles -- Pictorial works.
Dickson, Archibald, 1703-1747.
Dickson, James -- Bookplate.
Dixon family.
Formal gardens -- Design -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Formulas, recipes, etc. -- Early works to 1800.
Gardens -- Design -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Lauderdale, Charles Maitland, Earl of, 1688-1744.
Paint mixing -- Early works to 1800.
Public buildings -- Pictorial works.
Salmon, William, 1644-1713. Polygraphice.
Thirlestane Castle (Lauder, Scotland)
Traditional medicine -- Formulae, receipts, prescriptions -- Early works to 1800.
Workshop recipes -- Early works to 1800.
Ink drawings.
IIIF Manifest:

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