This original print a view of the town on the north
part of the River Ayr now called Newton on Ayr, was published as
part of John Slezer's 'Theatrum Scotiae', 1693. The view shows the
castle and coastal dwellings of the town with fishing vessels and
duck hunters in the foreground. This is an important and rare
print as Slezer's Theatrum Scotiae is one of the most important
records of early Scotland, the first edition being published in
1693. Burghs, such as this, had their own agricultural lands and for
smaller burghs the relationship was even closer. Slezer's view shows
cultivated 'rigs' (ridges) on either side of the river. To the far
right are the burgh's mills, where the land's produce was ground.
Burghs were also the location for markets, where agricultural
produce was sold. Non-burghal markets were not fully established
until the late 17th century (Ref: Tooley; M&B)
A native of Holland who had settled in Scotland in
1669, Slezer became an ordnance engineer. In 1678 he was made a
burgess of Dundee, and by 1688 had been appointed captain of
artillery by the Scottish Parliament. Slezer had a passion for
historic buildings, and is best remembered for his "Theatrum Scotiae"
(London, 1693), a monumental set of engravings of Scottish cities,
with texts by Sir Robert Sibbald, which are still regarded as
primary historical sources. He presented a copy of his work to the
Library in 1695 on behalf of his sons John and Archibald, who had
been students at the College.
Image and text courtesy of
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