My father did not confine himself to landscape painting, or to the instruction of his classes. He was an all-round man. He had something of the Universal about him. He was a painter, an architect, and a mechanic. Above all, he possessed a powerful store of common sense. Of course, I am naturally a partial judge of my father's character; but this I may say, that during my experience of over seventy years I have never known a more incessantly industrious man. His hand and mind were always at work from morn till night. During the time that he was losing his business in portrait painting, he set to work and painted scenery for the theatres. The late David Roberts -- himself a scene painter of the highest character -- said that his style was founded upon that of Nasmyth.[note: David Roberts, R,A., in his Autobiography, gives the following recollections of Alexander Nasmyth :- "In 1819 I commenced my career as principal scene painter in the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. This theatre was immense in its size and appointments -- in magnitude exceeding Drury Lane and Covent Garden. The stock scenery had been painted by Alexander Nasmyth, and consisted of a series of pictures far surpassing anything of the kind I had ever seen. These included chambers, palaces, streets, landscapes, and forest scenery. One, I remember particularly, was the outside of a Norman castle, and another of a cottage charmingly painted, and of which I have a sketch. But the act scene, which was a view on the Clyde looking towards the Highland mountains with Dumbarton Castle in the middle distance, was such a combination of magnificent scenery, so wonderfully painted, that it excited universal admiration. These productions I studied incessantly; and on them my style, if I have any, was originally founded."]

Stanfield was another of his friends. On one occasion Stanfield showed him his sketch-book, observing that he wished to form a style of his own. "Young man," said Nasmyth, "there's but one style an artist should endeavour to attain, and that is the style of nature; the nearer you can get to that the better."

My father was greatly interested in the architectural beauty of his native city, and he was professionally consulted by the authorities about the laying out of the streets of the New Town. The subject occupied much of his time and thought, especially when resting from the mental fatigue arising from a long sitting at the easel. It was his regular practice to stroll about where the building work was in progress, or where new roads were being laid out, and carefully watch the proceedings. This was probably due to the taste which he had inherited from his forebears -- more especially from his father, who had begun the buildings of the New Town. My father took pleasure in modelling any improvement that occurred to him; and in discussing the subject with the architects and builders who were professionally engaged in the works. His admirable knack of modelling the contour of the natural surface of the ground, and applying it to the proposed new roads or new buildings, was striking and characteristic. His efforts in this direction were so thoroughly disinterested that those in office were all the more anxious to carry out his views. He sought for no reward; but his excellent advice was not unrecognised. In testimony of the regard which the Magistrates of Edinburgh had for his counsel and services, they presented him in 1815 with a sum of £200, together with a most complimentary letter acknowledging the value of his disinterested advice. It was addressed to him under cover, directed to "Alexander Nasmyth , Architect."

He was, indeed, not unworthy of the name. He was the architect of the Dean Bridge, which spans the deep valley of the Water of Leith, north-west of the New Town. Sir John Nesbit, the owner of the property north of the stream, employed my father to make a design for the extension of the city to his estate. The result was the construction of the Dean Bridge, and the roads approaching it from both sides. The Dean Estate was thus rendered as easy and convenient to reach as any of the level streets of Edinburgh. The construction of the bridge was superintended by the late James Jardine, C.E. Mr Telford was afterwards called upon to widen the bridge. He threw out parapets on each side, but they did not improve the original design.

St Bernard's Well

From the Dean Bridge another of my father's architectural buildings may be seen, at St. Bernard's Well. It was constructed at the instance of his friend Lord Gardenstone. The design consists of a graceful circular temple, built over a spring of mineral water, which issues from the rock below. It was dedicated to Hygeia, the Goddess of Health. The whole of the details are beautifully finished, and the basement of

  By PanEris using Melati.

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