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Defence of the Cathedral

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Defence of the Cathedral

Defence of the Cathedral by the Trades' House in 1579 during the Reformation by David Roberts (1796-1863).

Edinburgh-born Roberts moved to Glasgow aged 22 to work as a scene painter at the Theatre Royal. Alexander Nasmyth had also worked at the theatre, and the young Roberts was greatly impressed by Nasmyth's scenes, later writing "upon them my style, if I have any, was originally formed". In 1820 Roberts left Glasgow, moving back to Edinburgh and then to London, where he established his reputation as an artist before travelling in Europe and North Africa.

Roberts produced this historical image for Scotland Delineated, a magazine published in monthly instalments from 1847 until 1854. It illustrates the story (doubted by some historians) that in 1579 the city magistrates were persuaded by the religious reformer and Principal of the University of Glasgow, Andrew Melville, to pull down the cathedral and use the masonry to build several small churches. Demolition was about to commence when members of the Trades House took up arms and rushed to the defence of the historic building.

Reference: 765.89.253

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

artists, Celtic crosses, Defence of the Cathedral by the Trades' House in 1579 during the Reformation, Glasgow Cathedral, kilts, Principals, Reformation, riots, scene painters, Scotland Delineated, spires, statues, Theatre Royal, towers, Trades House, University of Glasgow

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