Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


William Henry Playfair: One to One

An exhibition of drawings from the University of Edinburgh's archives 1-13 September.

Aug 27, 2012

10am - 4pm Monday - Friday
12pm - 4pm Saturday and Sunday
Riddle's Court (322 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2PQ)

The pieces in this exhibition are taken from the University of Edinburgh’s collection of architectural drawings by William Henry Playfair, (1790-1857), who designed some of the most iconic buildings found throughout the city.

These were chosen through a focus on the theme of One to One – showing some of Playfair’s 1:1 scaled working drawings, alongside images that depict and define the one to one communication between the architect and those who made his visions into a reality, from clients and craftsmen, to builders and ditch diggers.

The exhibition has been developed by Kirsten Carter, a PhD student funded by the AHRC and EWH at the University of Edinburgh, and John Lowrey, Senior Lecturer in Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh. Both have had an interest in Playfair throughout their work and in particular, Kirsten's recent study of Calton Hill has caused them to revisit the Playfair archives within the University collections. 

Kirsten Carter said: “With all of the images displayed, we have tried to retain the true dimensions of the original drawings as much as possible, in order to produce the most realistic experience of viewing the documents held in the collection.”

“However, this exhibition represents less than 1% of the whole of the collection of Playfair’s works held by the University. In limiting the number of drawings displayed, it is hoped to continue the theme of one to one by bringing an intimacy between the viewer and the images in a manner that illustrates both the building and the architect in a new way.”

“By doing this, it is hoped to show Playfair in a new light that celebrates not only the outputs of his career, but also the character of the architect and his relationship with those who made his visions into reality."

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