This plate depicts the workshop of Mac Nab, a man Faujas de-St.-Fond (1741-1819) came across in his travels across Scotland. It shows Mac Nab presenting de-St.-Fond and his fellow travelers with a "large buckler, of a round form, made of wood, overlaid with copper, and decorated in the centre with the representation of a rose, likewise of copper" (see page 292). It also shows Mac Nab's workspace and some of the treasures within it. The highlanders are depicted as dressed in kilts and other stereotypically Scottish clothing, while the French and Englishmen of de-St.-Fond's group dressed in clothes considered fashionable and high class at the time.
de-St.-Fond describes his experience with Mac Nab starting on page 290. He was led to him due to him having supposed possession of a rare manuscript, "containing several of the poems of Offian in the in the Celtic language." de-St.-Fond describes Mac Nab's home and its location in great detail throughout the chapter. He goes on to describe his interactions with Mac Nab and the great things he presented to him and his fellow travelers, including the pictured buckler, and "amour, which had been found a few years before in the ruins of an old castle in the neighborhood." (See page 292). de-St.-Fond also describes how he offered to buy several items from Mac Nab, to which Mac Nab refused on the grounds of the items belonging not to him, but to friends and his ancestors and that he would not part from them for any price. The rest of the chapter describes different aspects of Mac Nab's home and life and includes conversations had between de-St.-Fond and Mac Nab. de-St.-Fond uses Mac Nab as a case study of the life of a highlander. The chapter goes on until page 302.
This book is volume 1 of 2 the first English translation of two books written by French geologist Faujas-de-St.-Fond (1741-1819), done in 1799, two years after the original French was published. In 1784 de-St.-Fond traveled throughout England, Scotland, and the Hebrides. While the original publication is written in French, de-St.-Fond did speak and understand English. A valuable skill during his travels, as he did not need the aid of a translator, which led to easy conversations with locals. Early naturalists considered these conversations vital to their research, as the local people were considered part of the environment. Locals lived in a sort of symbiosis with their environment, with their culture affecting the environment and their environment affecting their culture. These volumes contain important information on the application of sciences to English industries, as well as the geology of the British Isles. The most notable of the descriptions on the British Isles is that of the geology of the Western Isles of Scotland, which include a plate of Fingal's Cave at the Isle of Staffa.
These volumes were translated by an anonymous author who made several changes and updates to the French original. Firstly, they updated many, if not most, of the observations of the original author and added their own notes on mineralogical and chemical matters. They also added a plate to volume I, facing page 134, of coal strata in a mine near Newcastle. Two illustrations that were originally on separate plates in the French editions are on one page in the English translations. Additionally, the illustrations in volume II are reduced copies of the originals. In 1907 another limited edition (450 copies) was published in Glasgow, edited by Sir Archibald Geikie and containing his notes and memoir.
During his time in London de-St-Fond visited many notable scientists and academics including Joseph Banks (1743-1820), Tiberius Cavallo (1749-1809), John Lettsom (1744-1815), John Sheldon (1752-1808), and John Herschel (1792-1871). He also visited the Royal Society, Greenwich Observatory, Kew Gardens, the British Museum, and other places of historic or academic value. In Newcastle, he spent time learning and writing about the coal industry. In Manchester, he explored the collections of Thomas Henry (1734-1816) and in Birmingham, he met with James Watt (1736-1819) and Joseph Priestly (1733-1804). He was impressed with Priestly's laboratory and gives a long description of it. He also visited Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795) and toured his pottery and glassworks facilities in Parker. Additionally, he spent time in Prestonpans visiting the alkali and sulphuric acid works and the Carron ironworks.
The entire volume has been digitized, along with both volumes of the first English translation, published in 1797. This book contains several plates illustrating different places de-St.-Fond visited and notable specimens or artifacts he saw. Selected pages and plates contain additional information relating to that page.
The Othmer Library also has microforms of the 1907 translation, printed in Glasgow, Scotland, which has not been digitized but is available for viewing in person by request at the Othmer Library.
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Faujas-de-St.-Fond, cit. (Barthélemy). “Inside of the Cottage of Mac Nab, a Blacksmith at Dalmally Who Possesses Some Fragments of the Poetry of Ossian.” In Travels in England, Scotland, and the Hebrides: Undertaken for the Purpose of Examining the State of the Arts, the Sciences, Natural History and Manners, in Great Britain, Vol. 1. London, England: James Ridgway, 1799. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/d81gfyc.
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Inside of the Cottage of Mac Nab, a Blacksmith at Dalmally Who Possesses Some Fragments of the Poetry of Ossian
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