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John Kay’s Original Portraits

Introduction by Alan Bell / Illustrated by John Kay


203 in stock

Free UK Delivery
SKU: 9781841586571 Categories: ,
ISBN: 9781841586571
Published: 09 Jan 2008
Format: Hardback
Extent: 1024
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: Birlinn
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About the Book

Birlinn's Limited Editions imprint celebrates the extraordinary work of John Kay with a magnificent, beautifully bound two-volume edition of Kay's portraits and caricatures, originally published in Edinburgh in 1837-8. Alan Bell, social historian and former Librarian of The London Library, introduces Kay's life and remarkable achievement, emphasising how, with 'the impression of a passing glance', Kay created an engaging and unparalleled record of Edinburgh society during the Enlightenment.

World-famous figures such as Adam Smith, Walter Scott, James Hutton, Joseph Black and even Vincent Lunardi (in his famous balloon) feature alongside all kinds of Edinburgh citizens - eminent doctors and scientists, lawyers and clerics, ladies of fashion and their admirers, soldiers and merchants, murderers and criminals.

Each volume is 264 x 204 mm hardback. Volume 1: 824pp with 168 plates. Volume 2: 872pp with 188 plates.

The Author

John Kay

Although John Kay (1742–1826) served his apprenticeship as a barber and followed this profession for many years in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, his consuming passion was observing and drawing the world around him. In 1785 he gave up his barber shop in Parliament Square to become a full-time sketcher and painter of miniatures, producing an estimated 900 portraits and caricatures over a long and prolific career.