The Prospoct of the Town of Air from the East
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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 Classical Images. This item available for purchase.