Photographer's Note

This is the private study of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) inside his family home of Abbotsford House near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. You can see a very fine photograph, taken by Bev Robinson (Royaldevon), of the exterior of this magnificent house here.

Scott is probably the best known and most loved of all Scottish writers, being a historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world in the 19th century.

Published (initially anonymously) in 1814 as Scott's first venture into prose fiction, "Waverley" is often regarded as the first historical novel. And the several other historical novels which he wrote thereafter, including Old Mortality, Guy Mannering, Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Kenilworth and Quentin Durward and others, are often referred to collectively as the "Waverley Novels".

In 1811, Scott bought Cartley Hole Farm, a farm on the River Tweed near Melrose, and built a family cottage there in 1812 and named it "Abbotsford". He continued to expand the estate, and built Abbotsford House in a series of extensions which were together to form a magnificent country house with beautiful walled gardens and reception rooms lavishly decorated with artefacts including suits of armour, mediaeval and more recent weapons of war, trophies of hunting, a library of over 9,000 volumes and many fine paintings.

Most unfortunately for Scott, in 1825 and 1826 a banking crisis swept through the cities of London and Edinburgh and the Ballantyne printing business, in which he had heavily invested, crashed, resulting in his being very publicly ruined. Rather than declare himself bankrupt, or to accept any kind of financial support from his many supporters and admirers (including the King himself), he placed his house and income in a trust belonging to his creditors, and determined to write his way out of his debt. He kept up his prodigious output of fiction despite failing health and, although he still owed money at the time of his death in 1832, his novels continued to sell and the debts encumbering his estate were eventually discharged.

Abbotsford House has very recently undergone very extensive and sympathetic restoration and has now reopened to visitors. Both the house and its gardens are well worth a visit and you can read more about the House and its restoration and history here.

This picture was taken during a wonderfully enjoyable meeting of some TE members in the Scottish Borders a week ago. Many thanks to all who came and I can only apologise for the less than wonderful weather which we had for much of the time!

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1812 W: 411 N: 6540] (26496)
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