Sketches in sepia of towns and buildings in the Isle of Man

Description

This album contains the earliest surviving pictorial record of the Isle of Man. The sketches were made during the Interregnum (‘between reigns’) of 1649–60, to illustrate and supplement a report on the state of the island commissioned by Lord Thomas Fairfax (1612–1671), a prominent Parliamentarian general and the appointed Lord of Man during this tumultuous period.

What’s shown in the sketches?

The sketches are primarily concerned with the condition of the fortifications and defences on the Isle of Man. The album includes detailed views of Castle Rushen (f. 10r, f. 12r, f. 14r, f. 16r, f. 18r), Castletown (f. 20r) – the town surrounding Castle Rushen, and capital of the island at this time – its outer walls and possible seaward approaches (f. 22r., f. 44r), as well as detailed illustrations of Douglas (f. 26r), Peel Castle (f. 28r) and Bishopscourt (f. 30r, f. 32r, f. 34r). Also within the album are two pages of proposed plans for new fortifications (ff. 36r and 38r).

Fascinatingly, there are also two sketches of local wildfowl: a pair of Northern Gannets (f. 40r) and a detailed depiction of a Great Auk, a once-common Atlantic bird that became extinct in 1844. 

Full title:
Sketches in sepia of towns and buildings in the Isle of Man
Created:
17th century
Format:
Drawing / View
Language:
English
Copyright:
© British Library
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 27362

Full catalogue details

Related articles

Ralph Thoresby’s album of 17th century views of the Isle of Man

Article by:
Eva Wilson
Themes:
Antiquarianism, Military and maritime

Eva Wilson discusses the history and scope of the earliest surviving pictorial record of the Isle of Man, an album of views owned by antiquarian Ralph Thoresby.

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