WILSON, After William
Elgin Cathedral. This View is by Permission most humbly dedicated to the Earl of Moray, by his Lordship's, obliged & obedient Servant Willm. Wilson
London: W. Wilson, 1 January 1813. Aquatint, coloured by hand, by Frederick Charles Lewis. Image size (including text): 16 7/8 x 22 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 20 3/4 x 24 3/4 inches.
A picturesque view of the remains of the once greeat Elgin cathedral in Scotland.
The three-towered Elgin Cathedral has been described as 'the most beautiful of Scotland's medieval cathedrals'. Originally the seat of the Bishop of Moray, it was founded in 1244 by King Alexander II of Scotland and replaced an earlier foundation at Spynie. After a fire in 1270 when only the transepts, west towers and parts of the choir and nave survived the cathedral was extensively rebuilt. However, in 1390 it was again burnt down by the 'Wolf of Badenoch', Alexander Stewart, as part of vendetta against the Bishop of Moray who had excommunicated him. During the 15th century the cathedral was again rebuilt, but failed to survive the Scottish reformation and eventually fell into ruin. Ecclesiastical Scotish ruins were a favorite tourist attraction during the Romantic era, and prints, paintings and poems about them were popular. The appeal of these places and the artworks that they engendered had to do with a new, much more emotional aethetic that preferred Gothic to Classical, and the mysterious to the rational.