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Hugh Buchanan

paints the
John Murray Archive
Austen, Byron,
Conan Doyle, Etc ...

National Library of Scotland

George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EW
26 June 6 September 2015

John Martin Gallery

38 Albemarle Street London W1S 4JG
18 September 10 October 2015

Hugh Buchanan paints the John Murray Archive

Austen, Byron, Conan Doyle, Etc ...

John Martin Gallery 2015

Foreword The John Murray Archive

Preface An Artist in the Archive

The John Murray Archive was transferred from 5o Albemarle

Street (where the Murrays lived from 1812) to the National
Library of Scotland in Edinburgh in 2006. It is made up of
over 150,000 manuscript letters as well as manuscripts of the
works of Byron, Walter Scott, Livingstone and many others. It
is much more than just a collection of authors writings; it is
a complete publishers archive that includes ledgers, account
books and letter books. It spans one of the most exciting and
complex periods in our countrys history, a time of innumer
able pioneering discoveries in science, medicine, exploration
and archaeology. By the end of the nineteenth century the
world was almost unrecognisable from what it had been at
the beginning. And the Murrays were at the forefront of most
of the developments. They published many of the key books
of the period Jane Austens Emma and Persuasion, Byrons
Childe Harold, Charles Lyells Principles of Geology, Charles
Darwins On the Origin of Species and David Livingstones
Missionary Travels to mention just a few. Murray also launched
the Quarterly Review in 1809, with the help of Walter Scott
and George Canning, as a Tory counterblast to the Whig
Edinburgh Review. It became the leading literary and politi
cal quarterly of the century, and brought people of power and
influence into the Murray circle.

As a first year graphics student at Edinburgh Art College in the

1970s I would often spend my lunch breaks wandering aim
lessly around the second hand bookshops of the Grassmarket,
buying the odd tattered volume here and there, never even
dreaming that thirty years later I would be working with
similar but rather more important material in the National
Library five hundred yards away at the top of the hill. In sec
ond year I dropped out of the Illustration course and switched
to Drawing and Painting. From then on I put my bibliophilia
to one side and concentrated on watercolours of architectural
interiors, particularly the play of light across rooms.
In 2008 in search of new subject matter I was drawn back to
the world of books and exhibited a series of paintings of librar
ies. However, a critic pointed out in a review, that the spines
of endless rows of books were, after a while, rather boring. So
I asked myself what it was about books that really did interest
me and I came to the conclusion that it was the paper itself,
especially when torn or stained, crumpled, brittle or greasy.
Archives in other words. Add some glistening wax seals and
maybe a cobwebbed vault to the mix and I found that I had
endless scope, not only for evoking the pathos of age, which
has always interested me, but also some aspects of the lives
of the people that created all those painstakingly transcribed
documents, be they great novels, ordinary letters, title deeds or
simple rental agreements.
My search for the archives that lived in my imagination
those in Mervyn Peakes Gormenghast and Umberto Ecos The
Name of the Rose led me from Drumlanrig in Dumfriess
shire, (the finest in situ archive in Scotland), to Forchtenstein,
the Esterhazy stronghold south of Vienna. Stretching to

John R. Murray

twenty five miles of shelving, this is probably the largest pri

vate archive in Europe. It was work from this last project that
was shown at Summerhall in Edinburgh in 2013 as part of the
Historical Fiction Festival.
Later that summer I was sitting by the edge of a lake in
Berlin, where I had gone to paint porcelain, when I received an
email from David McClay of the National Library of Scotland.
Why dont you come and paint a proper archive? he asked;
Youve heard of John Murrays Im sure? And so began one
of the most fascinating years of my life. Every week we would
take two authors Austen and Byron, Leigh Fermor and
Lancaster, Scott and Hogg, Washington Irving and Isabella
Bird, Darwin and Livingstone and attempt to assemble com
positions from their incunabula letters, maps, passports etc.
Some were easy and some defeated us. Often we would have
to back track, as better ideas occurred to us. The process of
composition alone took six months.
Bringing paint into the strong room was obviously out of
the question. Nor was this a cobwebbed vault, but a modern
room filled with dexion shelving and humming with neon.
But what we were able to do, by turning the overhead lights
off, and with the aid of low, hand held lamps, was to replicate
the effects of raking sunlight illuminating every crease fold
and wrinkle in the documents. By laying them on different
coloured papers we were also able to evoke some kind of mood
for the camera.
It had not originally been my intention to include images
of the authors or their principal characters, but, having started
on the Leigh Fermor passports, I saw that it added a clarity
and vigour to the compositions. Not only that, but dialogues

Introduction Byrons Toothbrush and Other Stories

began to open up between the portrait images and the docu
ments themselves. Raeburns portrait of Scott is the basis of
the engraving on the Bank of Scotland ten pound note. So
the postcard of Raeburns portrait that I used in the Childe
Harold composition should be identical; and yet, when it came
to painting the banknote and the postcard I subconsciously
interpreted Scotts image in different ways. When placed with
the cheques coincident with his bankruptcy he appears
to be pleading and mournful while in my depiction of him
with his correspondence with Byron he appears complacent
and defiant.
Through working with the John Murray Archive I have
learned so much about the humanity of the authors, from the
way Paddy Leigh Fermor carelessly repaired his maps with
photocopies and sellotape, to the messages hidden within
the mottos of the Ettrick Shepherds incongruously elaborate
wax seals. Then there is Byrons handwriting the surpris
ingly pedantic curlicues on the envelopes contrasting with
the drunken scrawl within. And lastly there are Jane Austens
cheques, written out by Murray to her brother after her early
death. They have an ineffably plangent quality that, along with
so much in this priceless collection, informs us on a level that
biography can rarely reach,

hugh buchanan

With the John Murray Archive the National Library of Scot

land can boast of having one of the worlds largest and most
important literary archives. It was perhaps inevitable there
fore that Hugh Buchanan, an artist renowned for his work in
archives and libraries, would eventually find himself immersed
in that remarkable collection.
Having admired Hughs paintings for a number of years
I was delighted to have the opportunity to introduce him
to the history and archives of John Murray and now to see
the impressive results of his engagement with the collection;
nineteen captivating watercolours, representing nine Murray
authors. Whilst most of the names of these literary greats will
be well known, the name and connection with John Murray
will, perhaps, be less so.
The publishing house of John Murray was founded in
Londons Fleet Street by the Scotsman John McMurray. He
had been advised to drop what one friend described as the
wild highland Mac from his name in deference to the strong
anti-Scottish feeling in the city at that time. However, the
Murray family maintained their strong Scottish connections
throughout successive generations, so much so that when the
current John Murray, seventh of that illustrious name, decided
to bring 234 years of business independence to an end it was to
the National Library of Scotland that their unparalleled pub
lishing archives eventually came.
Whilst the lasting legacy of the long history of Murray pub
lishing is principally in the books and journals they produced,
it is also to be found in the archives which they created, col
lected and preserved. Numbering perhaps a million separate
items of correspondence, business, financial and literary papers

the size of the collection can be overwhelming. However, it is

the quality of the archive which is truly striking. As well as
providing insight into the creative and writing process through
original drafts, rewrites and proofs of works, there is forensic
detail on each books sales and reception. Sometimes this is a
story of unparalleled success, at other times of disappointing
failure. Whatever the story it is one worth discovering. The
lively correspondence between publisher and author can range
from fraught, celebratory, gossiping and poignant as the lives
of the authors are as often as not the topics of discussion as
their literary endeavours.
Growing success led John Murray II in 1812 to transfer his
business from Londons Fleet Street to the more fashionable
Albemarle Street. There he established the most glittering lit
erary circle where scientists and politicians could mingle with
explorers and poets. It was here for example in 1814 that Lord
Byron and Walter Scott, the two most popular writers of the
day, first met. It was in that same room years later that Murray
was involved in one of the most notorious of literary crimes:
the burning of Byrons memoirs, thought by Murrays literary
advisor William Gifford to be fit only for a brothel and would
damn Lord Byron to certain infamy if published.
However, the Murray family made amends for this destruc
tion by putting together over the generations the greatest
single collection of Byron letters, manuscripts and archives. So,
alongside Byrons invaluable literary manuscripts and proofs
may be found his bills, medical reports and other curious doc
uments, for example a fallen French soldiers livret or papers,
collected by Byron from the battlefield of Waterloo. The Byron
papers also include thousands of letters to and from Byron.

1 Murray at his ledger

watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

These include his letters to Murray which range from furious

reactions to editorial interference to long shopping lists, like
the one from Italy in which he requested books, toothbrushes,
tooth-powders and I want besides a Bulldog a terrier and
two Newfoundland dogs. The Murray relationships with their
authors were seldom restricted to publishing matters alone.
The glamour of the Romantic period when Murray was
publishing the literary works of Jane Austen, Walter Scott,
Lord Byron, James Hogg and Washington Irving, gave way as
the nineteenth century progressed to more works of science
and travel. Murray was responsible for important and best
selling works of scientist Charles Darwin and explorer David
Livingstone. However, such interesting authors, whilst con
sidered by Hugh, were ultimately passed over. The challenge
for Hugh was not, I think, in finding interesting people or
materials in the John Murray Archive but in trying to limit his
options. With perhaps a million separate archive items, cov
ering thousands of authors, some of whom are the greatest in
their genres, the challenge over the six months of his regular
visits to the archive was to find a combination of interesting
authors, stories and especially book and archive items. In each
of his watercolours Hugh has achieved just that. This is equally
so for authors of the twentieth as well as the nineteenth cen
tury. The famous literary circle of the Romantic period had
its twentieth century manifestation when some of the great
est travel writers of the day, including Patrick Leigh Fermor,
would meet the likes of Osbert Lancaster, who after dashing
off his latest cartoon for The Daily Express, would regularly
make his way to Murrays for the pleasure of stimulating and
convivial company.
The John Murray Archive, thanks to the generosity of the
John R. Murray Charitable Trust, has been able to expand the

archive collection to include not only the publishing papers

of their authors but many of the personal archives too, includ
ing thousands of Lancasters cartoons and the entire personal
archive of Leigh Fermor. Other authors, like the intrepid
Victorian traveller Isabella Bird, left Murray, not only her pub
lisher but one of her dearest friends, her papers including her
letters to her beloved sister and her remarkable photographs
from her global travels.
Even authors who began their literary careers with one pub
lisher often found themselves becoming Murray authors. The
hugely prolific Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one such, who
after Murrays acquisition of Smith, Elder & Co., became one
of Murrays bestselling authors, especially with his editions of
the gripping Sherlock Holmes stories.
The National Library of Scotland is keen to encourage as
much use of the John Murray Archive collection as possible,
be that with researchers in our reading rooms or through
exhibitions and displays. Whilst the archive can provide an
unparalleled store of information and insight into the lives,
personalities and writings of authors and their readers, there is
another often overlooked aspect of these archives; their beauty
and interest as objects. Elegant or indecipherable handwrit
ing, handmade papers, leather bindings, gilded lettering, postal
marks and wax seals, all add to the visual variety and appeal of
an archive. With the exhibition of these watercolours alongside
some of the original manuscripts and books from the collec
tion people have a unique opportunity to see some remarkable
literary treasures examined through the special creative and
artistic talents of Hugh Buchanan.
David M cClay
Curator of the John Murray Archive,
National Library of Scotland


Jane Austen
Kathryn Sutherland
Though Jane Austen had dealings with several publishers, the
John Murray Archive allows us a unique perspective on her
brief career as a novelist. In the Murray account books and
in correspondence with his talent scout and journal editor,
William Gifford, we discover precious evidence for her early
esteem and track details for the economic fortunes of a writer
who was not averse to admitting that she wrote for money as
well as fame: tho I like praise as well as anybody, I like what
Edward [her brother] calls Pewter too (30 November 1814, to
her niece Fanny Knight).
Jane Austen was a published author for just seven years of her
short life from 1811 to 1817 and engaged with John Murray
II by autumn 1815. Murray brought out Emma and a second
edition of Mansfield Park (both in 1816), and two short nov
els, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, issued together in 1818
within months of Austens death. He was not noted as a novel
publisher; most of the novel manuscripts offered to the firm
(including that of Frankenstein) were rejected. Emma is his first
novel by an English woman writer; yet he was among the most
fashionable publishers of his day, cultivating influential connec
tions and establishing his imprint as a leading literary brand.
In some ways, John Murray and Jane Austen were on sim
ilar trajectories in the 1810s. She was forging a reputation as
a new kind of fiction writer, almost counter-novelistic in the
illusion of reality she created, while he was in the vanguard of
a new breed of publisher. Emma issued in three volumes for a
guinea, with a dedication to the Prince Regent, and a promo
tional review by Walter Scott in Murrays own periodical the
Quarterly Review gave Jane Austens career a major hike and
the critical seal of approval to a serious talent.

2 Jane austen cheque study

watercolour on paper 11 x 15 inches

3 Jane austen and emma

watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

4 Jane austen cheque

watercolour on paper 22 x 30 inches

Lord Byron
Robin, 13th Baron Byron
Byron was not known for his love of artists or art galleries.
There is therefore a certain irony one which Byron would
surely have appreciated in the fact that, perhaps more than
any other of the Romantic Poets, Byron has always inspired
His love of climes warmer than his chilly homeland give
me a sun, I care not how hot ; his musings on the iconic
sights of Italy and Greece; his wandering and revolutionary
spirit; above all the drama of his own life and his passionate
response to the people and places he visited have provided
limitless scope for artists to create their own visual interpre
tations of his work. In France, Delacroix found inspiration in
Byron for the exotic and emotional themes of his creations,
while in England it is Turners images which are most associ
ated with Byrons poetry; impossible to read Byrons lines on
Sounion or The Bridge of Sighs without Turners paintings
coming to mind.
Hugh Buchanan has created very different images with
which to conjure up the spirit of Byron. Drawing on the
Murray Archive from the National Library of Scotland, his
evocative water colours give an almost physical experience of
the texture of the manuscripts and the smell of the sealing
wax. I particularly like the detailed image of Byrons seal with
the letter B and the coronet imprinted deeply in the red wax;
you sense the moment when Byron has finished an amusing
scribble to a close friend and plunges his seal into the hot wax
before sending the letter on its way. To bring us such proximity
to Byron is a fine achievement.
5 Byron seal study
watercolour on paper 11 x 15 inches

Lord Byron
Miranda Seymour
Lord Byron turned twenty-four in 1812, the year in which the
publication of Cantos I and II of Childe Harolds Pilgrimage
transformed a mocking newcomer (Byrons 1809 satire, English
Bards and Scotch Reviewers, had caused sparks to fly on both
sides of the border) into a poet of international stature. A
poem that promoted the image of the romantic loner (Apart
he stalked in joyless reverie, And from his native land resolved
to go) turned its handsome author addressed by an ecstatic
Lady Caroline Lamb as if Byron himself was the gloom-soaked
Childe into the darling of society.
Poetry is notoriously prophetic. In 1812, Byron could not
know that his own exile was only four years away; that his flight
from scandal, debt and a disastrous marriage would resolve
itself into a permanent absence that ended with his doomed
journey to Greece where, aged thirty-six, he died.
That sense of exile in flight, as it were, from his own self
haunts the marvellous series of paintings in which Hugh
Buchanan delicately collates elements of Byrons literary life
abroad in a way that is wonderfully suggestive both of his pas
sion (blood-red wax spatters the letter lying beneath one of two
representations of Byrons splendid, coroneted seals) and of
the poets exasperating, fascinatingly mercurial temperament.

addressed envelope to John Hanson, Byrons agent, we glimpse

a fragment from one of his most capricious letters: in part, a
clipped request to his publisher for cash (I have imbibed a
great love of money let me have it); in part, a passionate
defence of his great poem against the censors pen: (in short,
Don Juan shall be an entire horse or none.).
John Murray, Byrons long-suffering but canny publisher,
unites the Byron-themed paintings with another literary figure
in the series. Writing to James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd,
in 1818, Murray stamped his letter with a black seal highlight
ing his association with Byron. It was Byron who had first
introduced Hogg to his own publisher, back in 1814. Hoggs
disturbing masterpiece The Private Memoirs and Confessions
of a Justified Sinner was published two months after Byrons
death. Few would have appreciated a novel about Calvinism,
demonology, persecution and duality more than Byron himself.

I am the very slave of circumstance

And impulse borne away with every breath!
How to communicate that frightening, entrancing quicksilver
quality that glitters through Byrons writings, that lightning
shift from calm to fury, from sweetness to mockery, from
love to hate? Buchanans paintings represent the shifts in
mood through subtle juxtaposition. Thus, laid aslant a primly

6 Byron seal
watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

Lord Byron
David m c clay
The Byron portrait seal in black wax on the letter of John
Murray II to James Hogg is based on Thomas Phillips 1813
Portrait of a Nobleman, better known as the cloak portrait.
Murray received one of Phillipss several copies from Byron.
He acknowledged the offer of the portrait on 18 November
1813 I do most heartily accept the offer of your Lordships
Portrait, as the most noble mark of friendship with which
your Lordship could, in any way, honour me I do assure
your Lordship that I am truly proud of being distinguished as
your publisher and that it will be my anxious endeavour to
preserve, through life, the happiness of your Lordships steady
However, Murray had to wait several months after the sum
mer exhibition of the Royal Academy finished in July 1814
before it was finally delivered. Murray frequently mentions
to Byron his pride and satisfaction of having the portrait;
for example on 11 October 1822, when their relationship was

coming to an end he noted forlornly that Every day of my life

I sit opposite to your Lordships Portrait.
Murray used the portrait seal in his letters to Byron,
even though the poet did not like it. Byron wrote to Murray
regarding the seal on 4 September 1817:
Your letter of the 15th has conveyed with its contents the
impression of a Seal to which the Saracens head is a
Seraph and the Bull and Mouth a delicate device.
I knew that Calumny had sufficiently blackened me of later
days but not that it had given the features as well as complexion of a Negro. Poor Augusta is not less but rather
more shocked than myself and says, people seem to have
lost their recollection strangely when they engraved me into
such a blackamoor. Pray dont seal (at least to me) with
such a Caricature of the human numskull altogether &
if you dont break the Sealcutters head at least crack his
libel (or likeness, if it should be a likeness) of mine.

7 black Byron
watercolour on paper 11 x 15 inches

8 Byron from pisa

watercolour on paper 11 x 15 inches

9 don juan
watercolour on paper 15 x 11 inches

James Hogg
James Robertson
James Hogg is one of the great outsiders of our literature. Born
and bred to the hardest kind of rural life, he desperately wanted
to gain admittance to the cultural citadel that was post-En
lightenment Edinburgh, but when he did he was treated like a
barbarian, mocked for his uncouth manners and lack of criti
cal self-awareness. Even his friend and patron Sir Walter Scott
patronised him in the other, less noble sense. His social supe
riors revelled in the company of The Ettrick Shepherd, but
were always sniffing at his back for the odours of blood and
sheep shit, the very palette of Hugh Buchanans images.
At one level Hogg cared deeply what others thought of him;
at another he didnt give a damn, maintaining a good conceit
of himself: Dear Sir Walter, ye can never suppose that I belang
to your school o chivalry? Ye are the king o that school, but
Im the king o the mountain an fairy school which is a far
higher ane nor yours. Hogg saw himself as the carrier and rep
resentative of an ancient culture which was of greater worth
and authenticity than that of the literati. In his long narrative
poem The Queens Wake (first published in 1813), the bards
of Scotland compete before a courtly audience for a prize
harp. The tenth bard, who on Ettricks mountains green /
In Natures bosom nursed had been, is clearly a self-portrait.
When he first appears:

The ladies smiled, the courtiers sneered;

For such a simple air and mien
Before a court had never been.
A clown he was, bred in the wild,
And late from native moors exiled,
In hopes his mellow mountain strain
High favour from the great would gain.
His harp is not adorned with gold crest or coat of arms but
dressed with streamers of the briar-rose and the heather-bell
and there his learning deep to prove, / Naturae Donum graved
above. Significantly, Hoggs own seal, as reproduced in Hugh
Buchanans compositions, included the form of a Grecian lyre
and the same motto an assertion that both he and his writ
ings were the gifts of nature.
Robert Louis Stevenson acknowledged that Hoggs mas
terpiece The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified
Sinner had a direct influence on his own exploration of moral
ity, duality and hypocrisy: The book since I read it, in black,
pouring weather on Tweedside, has always haunted and puz
zled me. Hogg himself haunts us to this day, a defiant ghost in
the archive, indelibly under our skin and persistently messing
with our heads.

10 hogg to murray
watercolour on paper 22 x 30 inches

Byron & Hogg

David m c clay
It was Lord Byron who promoted James Hogg to John
Murray II in 1814:
I have a most amusing epistle from the Ettrick Bard
Hogg in which speaking of his bookseller whom he
denominates the shabbiest of the trade for not lifting
his bills he adds in so many words G d d n him
and them both this is a pretty prelude to asking you to
adopt him (the said Hogg) but this he wishes and if
you please, you & I will talk it over he has a poem
ready for the press yrs. Ever Byron.
PS Seriously I think Mr. Hogg would suit you very
well and surely he is a man of great powers and
deserving of encouragement I must knock out a tale
for him and you should at all events consider before
you reject his suit.
Murray did go on to publish Hogg, and he became an
intermediary between Byron and Hogg, especially after
their relationship was immediately strained by Hoggs
inappropriate remarks to Byron about his marriage.

11 hogg to byron
watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

Sir Walter Scott

stuart kelly
Scott, more than any other author in the Romantic period, was
obsessed with money. Obsessed of course with the getting and
losing of it, but also obsessed with it as metaphor as much as a
means of acquiring stuff. The bank note is not just a promise;
it is a symbol, a circulating medium. Who but Scott would
have written a fantasia of his narrators forming a joint stock
corporation, in order to see off the threat of another characters
invention of a novel writing loom? In reviewing Mary Shelleys
The Modern Prometheus Frankenstein Scott described
the relationship between the reader and the writer as creating
a sort of account current drawing on the reader for license
in imagination, repaying it with trust in feasibility. Creativity
was a kind of overdraft. By the end, even his loyal son-in-law
Lockhart said that Scott must pay the price as well as reap the
dividends of a lifetime attached to creative detachment.

Detail from Scotts Review of Childe Harold [cat.13]



12 scotts cheques

13 scotts review of childe harold

watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

Washington Irving
Elizabeth L. Bradley
Heads will roll, the cover of the Sleepy Hollow DVD proclaims.
What Washington Irving would have made of director Tim
Burtons liberal (and liberally gory) interpretation of his most
famous story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is anyones guess.
He might have been intrigued (he encouraged the career of a
young Edgar Allan Poe, after all), or he might have been flat
tered (Irving loved the fact that elements from his tales became
household words during his lifetime words such as Gotham,
Knickerbocker, and Rip Van Winkle not to mention the
headless horseman himself). He might have been indignant:
the protection of authorial copyright was one of his pet causes,
and as the first American writer to earn his living by his pen,
he and his British publisher and champion, John Murray
had good reason. Its possible that Irving might simply
have been confused by Burtons feverish version: the original
Legend is a jack tale a trickster story, with nary a beheading
to be found. But he would have enjoyed the romantic, spectral
gloom Burton throws over the landscape of Tarrytown, Irvings
chosen retreat on the banks of the Hudson River. Had he not
done the same thing with his depiction of the Alhambra? I
left the Alhambra on the 29th July, Irving wrote to his friend
Henry Brevoort in 1829 (note Hugh Buchanans rendering),
after having passed between two and three months there in
a kind of oriental dream. Irvings visions of Saracenic and
Gothic Spain were to serve as an introduction to that country
for generations of Americans, but he is today best remembered
for Sleepy Hollow and the other tales of the Hudson River
Valley: gentle fables that imbued the young United States with
something like a storied past. Hugh Buchanans inclusion of
a pen-and-ink sketch of the Philipsburg Manor house, long

thought to be the model for the home of the young heiress

Katrina Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow, is in dialogue with Tim
Burtons moody take: here is Dutch thrift, security and order
made manifest, proof against any rumor of a ghostly rider. Or
is it? To those of a Burtonesque turn of mind the crimson seal
of the Irving family looks like a splash of blood on the authors
letter, but his family motto leaves room for interpretation: sub
sole sub umbra virens, or flourishing in both sunshine and
shade. There is no doubt that Irvings works endure today
because they do just that: with the characteristic generosity of
their author, they allow the reader to find her own meaning, be
it dark or light and to dream her own dreams.

14 sleepy hollow
watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

Isabella Bird
Meg Rosoff
Crippled by Victorian ideas of womanhood (and a twisted
spine), Isabella Bird spent her early decades as an invalid,
reclining on a sofa in the home of her Yorkshire vicar father.
When (in 1854) an enlightened doctor prescribed travel, she
arose from her bed of pain and hightailed it down to the docks,
embarking on a lifetime of almost unimaginable adventure.
Tiny, fearless and blessed with a constitution of iron, Isabella
rode eight hundred miles through the Rocky Mountains on
horseback, fell in love with a notorious outlaw and wrote a
series of best-selling books to fund her travel. She explored
the remote tribal villages of Japan and Korea, filthy back
ward places where not even zealous missionaries dared to go,
endured gruelling conditions, slept in caravanserai and on the
floors of mud huts. In 1892, she became the first female fel
low of the Royal Geographical Society, and late in life, when
she could walk only with difficulty, was carried into Tibet on
a litter.
Her final travels in Japan, China and Korea during the
time of the Sino-Japanese war are here illustrated in Hugh
Buchannans vivid watercolour. This period of travel was char
acterised by conditions of great hardship and danger she was
nearly lynched by an angry mob as she travelled up the Yangtze
river but also with unprecedented access for a foreigner and
a woman, including friendship with the Korean King Gojong.
Her appetite for the ravishing wide world remained insatiable
till the day of her death.

15 isabella bird
watercolour on paper 22 x 30 inches

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Owen Dudley Edwards
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (18591930) became a John Murray
author in 1917 after Murrays acquired Smith, Elder & Co. who
had published his collected works in 1903 and took on the
Sherlock Holmes stories after their original publisher of the
short stories George Newnes withdrew from book publication
in 1906. Newnes had published the Strand magazine from its
launch in January 1891, and ran the first Holmes short stories
there from July 1891. Holmes made the Strand, and the Strand
made Holmes, for the two long stories preceding the appear
ance of the series of short had but moderate fame. Two series
of twelve bred two Newnes book collections. Holmes officially
died when in December 1893 the Strand published The Final
Problem with a frontispiece grimly subtitled THE DEATH OF
SHERLOCK HOLMES although showing what was to be taken
as the death-grapple of Holmes and Professor Moriarty at the
Reichenbach Falls. Arthur Conan Doyle never fully consented
to his ostensible death-sentence on Holmes and the first break
came with retrospective long story, serialised in the Strand in
nine instalments (August 1901April 1902): The Hound of the
Baskervilles. Newnes also handled the collected new series of
thirteen short stories The Return of Sherlock Holmes in the
Strand and in book form. But Conan Doyle subsequently
wrote Holmes stories only intermittently.
Conan Doyle was a whole-hearted supporter of the UKs war
effort and from April 1916 was serialising a multi-volume his
tory of the British campaign in France and Flanders through
the Strand. But his hitherto accorded credentials for cover
age of the front were held back early in 1917 as the war begun
to spawn witch-hunts. Arthur Conan Doyle had unsuccess
fully sought to have his friend Roger Casement spared from

execution for high treason in Summer 1916. And in July 1914 the
Strand had published his short story Danger! which bluntly
predicted extreme vulnerability amounting to likely defeat for
the UK if enemy submarine warfare cut off food supplies. The
British authorities ridiculed the idea. When war broke out, the
Germans showed much more interest and widely circulated
it in translation. Conan Doyle summoned the aid of his most
influential friend his creation Sherlock Holmes, whose War
Service appeared in the Strand in September 1917. But the
story was announced to Smith, Elder as in preparation as early
as March 1917, the evidence in the Murray archive tells us, and
the house of Murray having taken over found itself the holder
of a hot property. For despite having only seven short stories
not yet book-published Arthur Conan Doyle had determined
to vindicate himself with his war story for Holmes heading
a new volume to be entitled His Last Bow. The story itself
made a war hero and master-counterspy of Holmes. Its con
struction forced one change. As Agatha Christie made Hercule
Poirot remark in The Clocks (1963) the genius of the Holmes
stories lay in the creation of Watson, through whose eyes we
see the godlike Holmes otherwise inaccessible to us. His Last
Bow was the first whose plot required disguises not only for
Holmes and Watson but of the narrative itself. It worked: the
German spy Von Bork was foiled in the story, the UK censors
foiled because of it, and Arthur Conan Doyle won back his cre
dentials. But so urgent had been his conscription of Holmes
that Murray received copy for the book His Last Bow in May
before the short story His Last Bow received its final improve
ments, so for once it is the Strand which is the definitive text.
We used it for the Oxford Sherlock Holmes.

16 the hound of the baskervilles

watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

Osbert Lancaster
James Knox
In his post-war heyday, Osbert Lancaster was one of the fore
most artistic personalities of his generation, whose front page
pocket cartoons in Lord Beaverbrooks mighty Daily Express
entertained the nation for almost forty years, whose designs
for opera and ballet made him the toast of Covent Garden
and Glyndebourne, and whose books of light verse, memoirs,
parodies, travel and cartoons made him a constant star of Jock
Murrays spring and autumn lists.
Born in London in 1908, Osbert sprang, as he put it, from
the old upper middles of Victorian England cushioned by
commercial fortunes on both sides of the family. An educa
tion at Charterhouse and Oxford, which culminated in a
fourth class degree, fostered, on the side, his talent as an art
ist, which in turn was honed by stints at three different art
schools. Oxford, and in particular his friend John Betjeman,
also nurtured his love of architecture as well as his dandyism
characterised by flourishes inspired by La Belle Epoque such
as button holes, canes, and rakish hats.
After Oxford, Osbert worked for the influential Architectural
Review, which led to the publication by Jock Murray of Pillar
to Post, an illustrated satire on British architecture which gave
Osbert his first glimpse of fame as the inventor of amusing
new styles (which have since entered the lexicon) such as
Stockbrokers Tudor and Pont Street Dutch. Jock Murray was
to remain his publisher and the closest of friends for the rest
of Osberts life.
Of the many strands in Osberts career, Hugh Buchanan
highlights his work as a cartoonist which is reflected in the
thousands of original drawings, marked up for publication,
in the Murray archive. Osberts first pocket cartoon, indeed

the first to be published in the British press, appeared in

January 1939. Apart from an eighteen month break in the
war, his witty asides on everything from the H-bomb to the
mini-skirt, channelled through a cast of characters, who them
selves became national figures, led by Maudie, the Countess
of Littlehampton, poured forth until 1978 when he laid down
his pencil following a stroke.
Hugh Buchanans portrait matches descriptions of him in
late middle age: His head, recalled a colleague at the Express,
poised above a strongly striped collar, has curious dignity:
large eyes reflect an inner amusement, and outwardly miss
nothing; a well tended neo-Edwardian moustache goes well
with a habit of shooting his cuffs.

17 osbert
watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

Patrick Leigh Fermor

Artemis Cooper
Passports and maps are the tools of bureaucracy and adminis
tration. A passport allows governments to track the movement
of individuals. A map displays the geographical features of a
country, and marks the roads, settlements and boundaries that
people have imposed on it. The information they contain is
purely factual, expressed in stamps and symbols; yet nothing
releases the excitement, liberation and romance of travel like a
passport and a map. For Patrick Leigh Fermor they were talis
mans of huge significance, treasured among his most precious
possessions. No matter how far he allowed his imagination to
recreate the past or how skilfully he wove his memories into
elaborate tapestries, it was these well-worn, dog-eared maps
and passports that put the solid ground under everything
he wrote.

Detail from Paddys Passports [cat.19]




watercolour on paper 15 x 22 inches

watercolour on paper 22 x 30 inches


Hugh Buchanan
HUGH BUCHANAN was born in Edinburgh in 1958. The

city instilled in him a lifelong love of architecture, which

he developed as a student of Drawing and Painting at
Edinburgh College of Art. After graduating in 1981 he
worked on commissions of interiors for the Prince of Wales,
the National Trust and the House of Commons. For the last
decade he has concentrated on paintings of libraries and
In spring 2000 Buchanan was a participant in The Art of
Memory: contemporary painters in search of Marcel Proust,
at the National Theatre on the South Bank in London, The
Lair of the Leopard: Lampedusa (2005), Everyone Sang: a
view of Siegfried Sassoon and his world (2006), and Jumping
for Joyce: Contemporary painters revel in the world of
James Joyce (2013). In 2009 his exhibition of library paint
ings, Enlightenment, was shown at The Old Town House,
University of Aberdeen. In 2010 his exhibition Words and
Deeds explored the archive at Drumlanrig in Dumfriessshire.
In April 2013 he was invited to show a selection of library
and archive paintings at the Historical Fiction Festival,
Summerhall, Edinburgh where his exhibition The Esterhazy
Archive was also held.

The Contributors
Hugh Buchanans paintings are in the collections of the
Victoria and Albert Museum, Edinburgh City Art Centre,
the University of Edinburgh, the University of Aberdeen,
the Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Flemings
Bank, Deutsche Bank, the National Trust for Scotland and
the English National Trust. In 1987 he was one of Ten British
Watercolourists shown at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao,
Spain. In 1991 he exhibited at the Lincoln Center, New York.
In 1994 Hugh Buchanan was given a retrospective by the
National Trust at Petworth House. In 1998 five works by Hugh
Buchanan were included in the exhibition Princes as Patrons:
The Art Collections of the Princes of Wales from the Renaissance
to the Present Day shown at the National Museum and Gallery,
Cardiff. In 2002 he was commissioned by the House of Lords
to paint the lying in state of the Queen Mother at the Palace
of Westminster. In 2005 his paintings featured in Watercolours
and Drawings from the Collection of Queen Elizabeth the
Queen Mother, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
and Queens Gallery, London.
His work has featured in two limited edition publications
with accompanying texts by Peter Davidson: The Eloquence of
Shadows (1994) and Winter Light (2010).

Sincere thanks are due to the distinguished contributors

to this catalogue:
Elizabeth Bradley Historian, writer and journalist,
Elizabeth has done much to promote New York and
Washington Irving through her writing, in particular her
editing of the Penguin Classics edition of The Legend of
Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories (2014).
Lord Byron The current Lord Byron is the 13th to hold that
title. He maintains a strong interest in the poetical 6th Lord
Byron through his valuable patronage and activities with The
Byron Society at home and abroad.
Artemis Cooper With her biography Patrick Leigh Femor,
An Adventure (2012) and the posthumous completion of
Paddys trilogy of his famous youthful journey in The Broken
Road (2013) with Colin Thubron, Artemis has rewarded his
readers, old and new, with two indispensible works.
Owen Dudley Edwards An acknowledged international
expert on a number of historical authors, periods and themes,
Owen is particularly distinguished for his deep knowledge
and expertise of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his works, for
which he was the ideal general editor of the Oxford Sherlock
Holmes series.
Stuart Kelly Journalist, author, literary editor, critic and
book prize panellist, Stuart is almost as prolific as one of his
heroes Sir Walter Scott. His Scott-land (2011) is essential read
ing for anyone wishing to understand Scotts cultural influence.


James Knox In curating the hugely successful Osbert

Lancaster exhibition at the Wallace Collection in 2008 James
helped bring the genius of Osbert to a wider audience. James
is formerly Managing Director of The Art Newspaper and
currently Director of the Fleming Wyfold Art Foundation.
James Robertson Multi-award winning novelist, short
story writer, poet and promoter of the Scots language, Jamess
The Testament of Gideon Mack (2006) is a brilliant rework
ing of Robert Louis Stevensons The Strange Case of Dr
Jeykll and Mr Hyde and James Hoggs The Private Memoirs
and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
Meg Rosoff Prize winning novelist and author Meg is a
Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She discussed her
interest and admiration of intrepid traveller Isabella Bird in
the BBCs Great Lives series in 2013.
Miranda Seymour Novelist, biographer and critic, is a
Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Mirandas many
books include her definitive Life of Mary Shelley (2000).
She is currently researching a biography of Lord Byrons wife
and his daughter, the mathematician Ada Lovelace.
Kathryn Sutherland As Professorof Bibliography
and Textual Criticism at St Annes College, University of
Oxford, Kathryn is a renowned international expert not
only on Jane Austen but on Romantic period novelists and
writers. These interests often find her immersed in literary
manuscripts and archives.


George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EW

+44 (0)131 623 3700 enquiries@nls.uk www.nls.uk

38 Albemarle Street London W1S 4JG

+44 (0)20 7499 1314 info@jmlondon.com

Published by John Martin Gallery

for the exhibition at the National Library of Scotland,
Edinburgh, 26 June 6 September 2015,
and John Martin Gallery Mayfair, London,
18 September 10 October 2015.

ISBN 978 0 9932195 2 8

Images Hugh Buchanan 2015
Text The contributors 2015
Catalogue John Martin Gallery 2015
Photography by the National Library of Scotland
Designed and typeset in Fleischman by Dalrymple
Printed in Belgium by Albe De Coker

I S BN 9780993219528

9 780993 2 1 95 28