Dumbarton Castle by Alexander Nasmyth

Old Ways New Roads:
Travels in Scotland 1720-1832 

29 January - 9 May 2021
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission free

This exhibition addresses the impact of Scotland's new transport infrastructure on the development of travel, tourism and topographical descriptions of the nation between 1720 and 1832. Old Ways New Roads features paintings, prints, drawings, maps, manuscript tours and other associated objects from The Hunterian and other public and private collections. 

The laying out of new routes in the aftermath of the 1707 Act of Union and the 1715 Jacobite Uprising opened up Scotland (and especially the Highlands) not only to military occupation, but to the forces of commerce and trade and philosophical and scenic tourism. As a recent war zone, Scotland became imbued with aesthetic and topographical significance.

Sites and places, old and modern, ruinous and thriving, were brought into view by travel along the military roads constructed by General George Wade and Major William Caulfield. Later, those designed by Thomas Telford under the aegis of the Commission for Highland Roads and Bridges, as well as canals and steam-boat routes, further opened up Scotland’s more inaccessible regions in the Romantic period.

Old Ways New Roads traces how these dramatic 'improvements' to the Scottish landscape were variously documented, evaluated, planned and imagined in word and image and more especially ‘framed up’ in terms of the experience of travel.

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication of the same title, edited by Hunterian Curator Anne Dulau Beveridge and the University of Glasgow's John Bonehill and Nigel Leask.