CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2720
TitleJames Skene of Rubislaw, artist and antiquarian: papers
Date1800 - 1830
Extent211 letters, 6 files (0.33 linear metres)
Creator NameJames Skene of Rubislaw, Aberdeen (1775-1864), artist, antiquarian
Administrative HistoryJames Skene (1775-1864) was the second son of George Skene of Rubislaw and Jean Moir of Stoneywood. He studied in Germany and was admitted to the Scottish bar on returning to Edinburgh in 1797. Much of his life thereafter was spent in Edinburgh, where he maintained a close friendship with Sir Walter Scott, and was for a time curator of the library and museum of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Subsequent travels took him to Greece, where he settled near Athens, 1838-1844. In 1844 he returned to Britain, settling near Oxford where he died, on 27 March 1864. The estate of Rubislaw, which had been acquired by Thomas Skene, brother of Sir George Skene, a Danzig merchant and Provost of Aberdeen, 1679-1688, in the late seventeenth century, was inherited by James in 1791. During his absence from Aberdeen, he was represented by Sir Henry Jardine, who had married his sister, Catherine.
SourcePurchased by the University in June 1969, from Messrs. Robson Lowe Ltd., London (lot 1225). Other items of Skene family correspondence were sold at the same auction, under lots 1222 and 1226-1230, for which no bids were made. These included letters to James Skene in Hannau, Germany, 1792-1794; letters from James Skene (3rd son of James Skene (1775-1864) to his father, whilst a student at Hannau, on military service in Ireland and Malta, and whilst consular general at Aleppo, 1826-1836.
Description211 letters to James Skene of Rubislaw or his representatives, from his factors, Charles and Alexander Gordon, advocates, Aberdeen, chiefly concerning the sale and residential development of the Rubislaw estate, Aberdeen, 1802-1805, 1819-1821 and 1829-1830. The correspondence was originally part of a larger collection, and original numbers in ink on the documents indicate that there were at least 600 items.

[The collection is discussed more fully by Colin A. MacLaren and Margaret A. Stephen in 'Reports and Surveys of Archives in Northern Scotland', 'Northern Scotland', 1 (2) (1973), 223 - 225.]
AppraisalThis material has been appraised in line with normal procedures.
AccrualsNone expected.
ArrangementItems 1-204 : factors' correspondence; items 205-211: miscellaneous items outwith collection of factors' correspondence.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionNo restrictions on access. The condition of some of the later material is fragile and damp has affected the legibility of some letters.
Related MaterialPapers held in private hands relating to James Skene (1775 - 1864) and his family were surveyed by The National Register of Archives (Scotland) in Oct 1969. For further details contact the National Register of Archives (Scotland), quoting survey number NRA(S) 0464.

Papers of Charles Skene (b. 1912), Marischal College, and Andrew Skene (1814 - 1846), Medical School, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh University (MS 2061)
Papers of Skene family, Aberdeenshire, 1744-45 (MS 2523)
Plans of Skene House, Aberdeenshire, 1847; 1850 (MS 2628)
Papers relating to history and genealogy of Skene family, compiled by John Hall Skeen, 1958 (MS 2728)
Poems of Lilias Skene, 1665-96, transcribed by William Walker (1840 - 1931) (MS 2774)
Letters, 1817-22, of Rev. George Skene Keith, agricultural writer, to Admiral Lord George Keith-Elphinstone (1747 - 1823) (MS 3629/ 1 - 12)
Papers relating to cause between George Skene, Skene, Aberdeenshire and William Forbes, Disblair, Aberdeenshire, 1719 - 1740 (MS 500)
Papers relating to Moir of Stoneywood (MS 2736)
Publication NoteRubislaw Estate Papers, 1800-1830. Correspondence of James Skene, Rubislaw, Aberdeen, with his factors. Northern Scotland, Volume 1, No. 2 (1973), pp.223-25.
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