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BOEC Volume 11, 2015

Cover Illustration

Cover image from volume 11

The pen and ink sketch shown on the cover was executed by Diana Knight Bruce (1877-1951), probably in the 1940s during the Second War. She was the second child and second daughter of James Bruce WS, and Catherine, daughter of John Russel, Dean of Guild of Edinburgh. Sometime after the death of her mother in 1935 she and her elder sister Mary Cuningham Bruce moved from 59 Great King Street to 35 Ann Street, where they lived for the rest of their lives, both unmarried. Her sister was the custodian of family memorabilia and both sisters were staunch Jacobites, an affiliation which stemmed from the family's Aberdeenshire roots. Di, as she was known by her family, had polio as a child which had left her with much impaired movement in her hands, which became claw-like as she aged. Di was, however, a proficient amateur artist and story teller. She painted attractive watercolours of the garden at the family country home at Gateside in Fife and illustrated children's stories for the benefit of her two nephews and two nieces. The remaining small collection of her works are now owned by her great niece, who took her first steps in 35 Ann Street, although after her grand aunt's death. It is likely that Di sketched other views of Ann Street and no doubt of other parts of Edinburgh but virtually no other examples remain.

Ann Street formed part of the Raeburn Estate. It is thought to have been designed by James Milne in the first decade of the 19th century. By 1817 the western section had been built and building continued over the next 50 years. The central sections of the street show three-storey pedimented houses with Ionic pilasters flanked by two storey houses which in turn are flanked by end houses which stand proud of those in the middle. This sketch would appear to take its viewpoint from almost opposite the front door of the artist's house and shows the pedimented central section and elegance of the street clearly, a view less easy to appreciate now the narrow street is full of cars.

Elizabeth Roads
© Elizabeth Roads