John Stoddart (1773-1856)
Remarks on Local Scenery and Manners in Scotland during the years 1799 and 1800, 2 vols., (London, 1801).
"crossing the Clyde, by a stone bridge, below Hamilton, you reach the village of Bothwell, at about three miles distance; near which, on the left, is Bothwell Castle, the seat of Lord Douglas. Here, after setting down our names in the porter's book, we proceeded to the house, a large new pile of red stone, built almost close to the beautiful remains of the ancient castle. In order to see it to advantage, we descended the woody bank of the river, where the ruins appear in many striking points of view. They are in a most picturesque state, and, from their massy structure, are calculated long to resist the ravages of time…Bothwell is a most delicious scene, which no traveller, of any degree of taste, can pass without notice, or notice without admiration."John Stoddart
Stoddart was a journalist and lawyer who set out from London aged 27 to gather material for his projected account of Scotland’s “local scenery” and “manners”, which he hoped would stand apart “from the mushroom productions of every summer”. Stoddart's extensive tour was made on foot in the company of the artist John Claude Nattes, who supplied many of the drawings used to illustrate this important published tour. A friend of the romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, the aspiring writer introduced a new romantic appreciation of Scottish natural scenery which sought to transcend what he considered to be the limitations of Gilpin's picturesque. Putting the emphasis on “the actual events, the local scenes, and the personal characters, which are essential to truth of description”, his account also attempts to convey an idea of the current state of Scotland.