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[Mr. Brisk's travels in Scotland].

[England], [1845]
Physical Description:
1 album (32 drawings) : pen and black ink, and graphite ; 20 x 28 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2011 19
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
Bound in contemporary black half calf and marbled boards.
Manuscript pictorial account, by an unidentified artist, of a trip by "Mr. Brisk" to Scotland in September 1845. The album contains thirty-two drawings in pen and black ink and graphite, all of which reflect different aspects of the traveler's experiences in Scotland. The drawing on the first leaf includes 14 lines of verse in which the author summarizes his travels and invites the reader to "ope this book." The remaining leaves are pictorial, with short wry captions.
Mr. Brisk is a nom-de-plume very likely taken from the character of the same name in Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress, in which he is characterized as "a man of some breeding, and that pretended to religion; but a man that stuck very close to the world" (part III, chapter 6). The sketches and captions in the present album suggest a humorous but cynical view of Scottish culture; the creator portrays Scots as somewhat boisterous but frequently lazy. Mr. Brisk's "meditations" contain comments on Scottish scenery, weather, animals, tourism, food, and local culture. The album was probably created to entertain friends, perhaps through travel stories prompted by the illustrations.
The second illustration shows a lethargic Mr. Brisk sticking his tongue out in front of a mirror; here, he "meditates on the state of his liver & determines to travel for the benefit of his health. Sep. 20. 1845." Several of the drawings portray a lecherous Mr. Brisk. An early drawing shows him enjoying the close proximity of a young woman while he "meditates on railway travelling." There is also one particularly risqué pen and ink drawing, the first of a paired set of sketches. This image shows a woman peering out over a waterfront scene. She is wearing a low-cut and flimsy sleeveless vest over a skirt that exposes her calves and bare feet. The following sketch shows Mr. Brisk staring out of a window, presumably at her. The typically humorous captions for the two pieces read: "Mr. Brisk meditates on the geological formation of the Isle of Arran" and "On his wife and family."
Some sketches appear to have been completed very hastily, while others are more deliberate and carefully conceived. A few images have no caption and seem to have been brief sketches of sights observed en plein air--boats in a harbor, a bridge, a village scene.
Subject Terms:
Bunyan, John, 1628-1688. Pilgrim's progress -- Parodies, imitations, etc.
Scotland -- Humor.
Scotland -- Pictorial works.
Scotland -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial works.
Travel sketches -- Scotland.
Travel literature -- Scotland.
Humorous pictures.
Ink drawings.

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