1849 Fairbairn Large Folio Antique Print Baronial Tower ,Main St Gorbals Glasgow

Publisher : Thomas Fairbairn

This beautifully coloured large folio original antique lithograph print, views of old Glasgow now long gone, by the Scottish artist Thomas Fairbairn (1821 - 1885) was published by Miller & Buchanan in the 1849 edition of Relic of Ancient Architecture and other Picturesque Scenes in Glasgow.

Subject Background:
This venerable pile, so long identified with the Barony of Gorbals, was erected between the years 1600 and 1608, by Sir George Elphinston, the son of a merchant in Glasgow, who had acquired the lands on the south side of the river known as "St. Ninian's Croft," from Boyd, the Protestant Archbishop of the See. With the view of forming a suitable residence, Sir George enclosed part of the croft for an orchard and garden, and built thereon the erections which so long formed the most prominent objects on the east side of the Main Street of Gorbals. Tradition informs us that he also erected a small Chapel adjoining, part of which still exists at the corner of Main Street and Rutherglen Loan. It was in this baronet's favour that the village of "Gorbels" was erected into a Burgh of Barony and Regality. Although this gentleman enjoyed great distinction in his lifetime, and rose to the rank of Lord Justice Clerk in the reign of Charles I., he afterwards became reduced in circumstances, and died miserably and in poverty about 1634. According to McUre, he was privately interred "in his own chapel, adjoining to his house." The property was then sold by the creditors of the deceased to Robert Douglas, Viscount Belhaven. This nobleman extended the mansion in Gorbals, and built a square Tower or "Fortulice," which is now almost the only part of the venerable buildings existing. Until within a few years ago, the Tower in question exhibited four turrets, which of course gave an imposing appearance to the structure. On the building adjoining the Tower may still be seen the family arms of Viscount Belhaven, pretty well cut in stone, the whole surmounted by the letters S. G. E., which are apparently meant for the initials of Sir George Elphinston. It is not at all improbable that this was not the original position of the arms referred to, but that at some period when alterations were made on the Tower, they had been removed from it, and placed so as to face the Main Street of the Barony. The Viscount, at his death, was succeeded by his nephew, Sir Robert Douglas of Blackerston, who sold the Gorbals Mansion House and lands in cumulo, some time prior to 1661, to the town of Glasgow, the Trades' House, and the Trustees for Hutchesons' Hospital. They were retained as a sort of co-partnery possession till 1790, when a division was made, and the central portion, containing the old buildings, fell to the lot of the city. The most important event connected with the Baronial Hall structure is found in the fact that at one time it formed the residence of Sir James Turner, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Scotland in the reign of Charles II., and who is understood to be the personage who supplied Sir Walter Scott with the portrait of Dugald Dalgetty. The terms on which Sir James obtained possession of the house are somewhat singular; for it appears by the minutes that on the 18th July, 1670, the Bailies and Council "ordains ane tack to be wrytten and subscryvit in favors of Sir James Turnor, of the toune's houss and tour in Gorballs, quhilk he presentlie possesses, and that dureing his lifetyme, for payment yearlie of three punds Scots, if the samyne be requyred." Sir James accordingly died in possession of the subjects; and from the records kept in the College, it would appear that at the sale of his effects, a part of his scanty library was purchased by the University of Glasgow. Amongst his books were several works upon the art of war; but the soldier of fortune had not overlooked productions of a more elevating and humanising kind, for Milton's "Paradise Lost" and various kindred tomes are found in his catalogue. Who were the successors of Sir James Turner, in the "toune's houss and tour," we have no way of knowing. At all events, as the locality was never an attractive one for the Glasgow merchants, the occupants must have gradually descended in the scale of quality. Before the close of the last century, and for some time afterwards, the principal room in the Tower, which was of a spacious kind, was used as a place of meeting by the magistrates, heritors and feuars of the parish of Gorbals; and here also the inhabitants mustered previous to performing the dutes of watching and warding, in days when a police force did not exist. Latterly, part of the old building was fitted up as a police-office, with adjoining cells. But it lost all its importance, excepting such as it retained from olden associations, when the official staff was removed to the present extensive police establishment in Portland Street. t was then given over to very humble uses - the ground floors to the street being let as whisky shops, and the upper flats having been split up into dwelling-houses for the lowest class of the people. The greater part of the structure built by Sir George Elphinston was taken down early in 1849 by order of the Dean of Guild Court, from its having exhibited symptoms of insecurity. It was then a fine remnant and wreck of the Scottish urban Manor House style, with its oriel windows, ornamental ceilings, and stout oaken staircases. The Tower, which remains, though sadly dilapidated externally and internally, still exhibits evidences of the aristocratic aspect it wore in the days of other years

Relic of Ancient Architecture and other Picturesque Scenes in Glasgow, was published large folio size in 1849, containing 19 large folio coloured lithograph prints and has long since been out of print. A praiseworthy motive induced Mr. James Bogle, at one time Lord Dean of Guild, and a member of an old and highly-respected Glasgow family, to engage Mr. Thomas Fairbairn to reproduce them, before they passed into oblivion, some "Relics of Ancient Architecture and Picturesque Scenes in Glasgow." The immediate cause of Mr. Bogle's resolve was the fall of a sugar-house in Alston Street, by which some six or seven lives were lost, and a resolution on the part of the Dean of Guild Court to make a general survey of the City with a view to the removal of old houses which, from age or other causes, were considered to be unfit for habitation. Mr. Bogle naturally thought that this was the proper time to reproduce in permanent form a fair presentment of many of the noted houses of old Glasgow.
Along with Mr. Fairbairn, the artist, Mr. Bogle made a tour of the City, and selected subjects for the drawings, nearly all of which are now gone, and those few that remain are so altered as to be almost irrecognisable.
A general wish having been expressed for a reproduction of the work, the publishers some time ago engaged Mr. Fairbairn (now alas! gone) to reproduce the original sketches, and also add a number of others of interest before the rapid growth of the City extinguishes or entirely defaces their subjects.
The drawings are now thirty in number, and have been reproduced by Messrs. Annan's new process of photo-engraving, which it will be observed, gives the effect of finely finished mezzo-tints.
The letterpress descriptions of the original edition are from the pen of the late Mr. James Pagan, Editor of the Glasgow Herald, and the descriptions of the new scenes have been supplied by his successor, the present Editor of that journal.
It ought to be stated that the descriptive portions, written by Mr. Pagan more than thirty years ago, have not been touched; so that readers should understand that they refer to the Glasgow of a former generation, and are all indicated in the Contents by an asterisk.

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy & stable
Paper color: - White
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Red, green, blue, brown  
General color appearance: - Authentic   
Paper size: - 22in x 16in (560mm x 405mm)
Margins: - Min 4in (100mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None