CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3849
TitleDr Robert Wilson, surgeon and traveller, portfolio of original paintings, drawings and prints
Date19th century
Extent3 large archive boxes, 195 items: 3 linear metres
Creator NameWilson; Dr Robert (1787 - 1871), surgeon and traveller
Administrative HistoryWilson (1787 - 1871), originally of Banff and latterly of Glenairnie, Morayshire, spent his early career as ship's surgeon with the Honourable East India Company, c. 1805 - 1809, travelled extensively in Europe and Asia, 1816 - 1822, and later, 1824 -1826, became private secretary to Lord Hastings, Governor General of Malta. He assembled a large library and extensive museum at Glenairnie House, which were bequeathed to the University after his death, the contents of his museum forming the basis of the new Wilson Archaeological Studio (later becoming the Anthropological Museum, and presently Marischal Museum). Robert Wilson's Trust was created in 1871 under the terms of his will, to establish an anthropological museum in the buildings at Marischal College, Aberdeen, and to administer funds for a scholarship in archaeology at the University of Aberdeen (later, the Wilson Travelling Fellowship).

See H. Hargreaves, Dr Robert Wilson, Aberdeen University Review, 43 (1970), pp374 - 384.
Custodial HistoryIt is assumed this collection originally formed part of the 2 portfolios noted in Wilson's will.
SourceTransferred from Wilson's book collection, where it had been previously uncatalogued. 2011.
DescriptionThe portfolio contains a mixture of prints and original paintings and drawings. Most of the prints have evidently been collected by Wilson on his European travels and depict famous and important buildings, views of towns and scenic areas, and the like, together with portrait prints of Napoleon, Pope Pius VII and others, and a few reproductions of famous paintings. The original paintings and drawings have mainly been acquired by, or made by or for, Wilson on his travels in the East, although they also include some tourist scenes from Europe. There is an important group of original surveyor's drawings of excavations of Classical buildings in Sicily from the early 19th century, as well as views of Egyptian, Greek and Indian temples, Roman antiquities in Tunisia, and a watercolour painting of the annual festival at the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa in June 1822.
ArrangementThe materials in the portfolio were not sorted in any order. They have been therefore been arranged in four sections: Europe (excluding the European part of the Turkish Empire); Egypt, Nubia and North Africa; Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Persia and India; and portraits, nature studies and reproductions of works of art. Within these sections, original materials and prints are listed separately. As most of the items carry no exact date, their order within the sections is by location or theme rather than chronological sequence.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialMS 413: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Greece and Sicily

MS 414: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Germany and Norway

MS 415: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Egypt and Nubia

MS 416: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: India

MS 417: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Persia

MS 418: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Palestine and Syria

MS 419: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Mesopotamia, Assyria and Babylonia

MS 420: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: Switzerland and Italy

MS 421: Volume containing a draft treatise by Robert Wilson on the purpose of Law and Punishment

MS 422: Copies of Letters from Robert Wilson to the Marquess of Landsdown and Lord Lauderdale

MS 423: Volume containing transcripts of letters written by Robert Wilson during his time as Private Secretary to Lord Hastings, Governor General of Malta

MS 424: Volume of Poems by Aylmer St Aubyn Wilson, the natural son of Robert Wilson

MS 425 Commonplace book belonging to Robert Wilson

MS 426: Volume of Poetry belonging to Robert Wilson

MS 427: 'Hugo Conwaie', an unpublished novel by Robert Wilson

MS 428: Volume containing narratives of Robert Wilson's travels through France

MS 429: Letter book of Robert Wilson

MS 430: Volume containing accounts of surgical cases treated by Robert Wilson on voyages with the East India Company

MS 431: Treatise by Robert Wilson entitled 'On the Presevation of Health on board the Honourable East India Company Ships'

MS 432: Notes on a number of subjects by Robert Wilson

MS 433: Volume by Robert Wilson entitled 'Remarkable Events since 1804'

MS 434: Material extracted by Robert Wilson from letters to his brother during his travels in Greece, Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily and Egypt.

MS 435: Volume by Robert Wilson containing 'Remarks on the Spanish Coast' and other anecdotes from abroad

MS 436: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: The Low countries and Germany

MS 437: Travel Journal of Robert Wilson: France and Spain

MS 438: Volume 1 of lectures in Natural Philosophy given by Professor Copland and taken down by Robert Wilson

MS 439: Volume 2 of lectures in Natural Philosophy given by Professor Copland and taken down by Robert Wilson

MS 440: Volume of watercolour portraits by Robert Wilson: Ottoman Emperors

MS 441: Volume belonging to Robert Wilson containing two essays by George Lomax and a 1741 copy of The Gentleman's Magazine

MS 442: Volume of watercolour portraits by Robert Wilson: Turkish Officials and Nobility

MS 443: Catalogue of books belonging to Robert Wilson

Three volumes from Robert Wilson's library are also deposited in the University Archives:
Manuscript of Roman Antiquities presented by the Marquess de Berrio to Mr Robert Wilson, Naples, in Jun 1820 (MS 411): containing six essays, written in Italian, with detailed and carefully executed drawings of monuments and finds from Roman sites.

Manuscript copy of 'The Whiggs Supplication' (part ii), by Samuel Colvil (MS 412): an enclosed letter, dated 9 Apr 1863, from C. Innes to Wilson states that the manuscript is the second part of a book, once well-known as 'The Scotch Hudebras'. He describes its author, Samuel Colvil(l), grandson of Lady Culcrop, as a " ne'er-de-well who went about trying to get subscribers for his book." A further copy of Colvill's 'Mock poem' or, 'Whigg's Supplication' is deposited at (MS 103).

Robert Wilson's Trust papers, 1805 - 1986 (MS 3390).

The Wilson Collection (printed books: ref. WN). Comprising the contents of Robert Wilson's library, this collection is particularly rich in travel material along with smaller collections in history, archaeology, literature and medicine, dating principally from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but also including a two-colour printed edition of Ptolemy's 'Liber geographiae' (Venice, 1511). A collection level description of the library is available on the website.

Marischal Museum continues to care for the anthropological collections bequeathed by Wilson to the University. Further details are available on the website.
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