In pictures: 17th century Scotland then and now

In 1693 military draughtsman and adventurer John Slezer published his Theatrum Scotiae, a book featuring dozens of detailed engravings of towns, abbeys and castles across Scotland.

The North-East View of Edinburgh Castle by John Slezer. Picture: NLS
The North-East View of Edinburgh Castle by John Slezer. Picture: NLS

Over a 20-year period Slezer created a large number of detailed maps and drawings which now hold considerable historical value. Theatrum Scotiae contains the earliest comprehensive mappings and views of Scotland, and provides us with a fascinating and detailed record of the built landscape at that time.

This month, to mark 300 years since Slezer’s death, the National Library of Scotland is launching a photo competition inviting members of the public to follow in his footsteps and recreate the legendary engravings.

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Map-maker John Slezer’s work gives us a picture of a long-gone Scotland

More than 70 of his engravings, covering places from Inverness to Ayr, are featured on the Library’s website to provide a starting point for interested photographers.

The major challenge will be to snap an image showing as similar a view as possible to Slezer’s original 17th century image.

Chris Fleet, map curator at the National Library, said: “We are well aware that the exact viewpoints used by Slezer may have been built on and no longer accessible and that the perspectives in his engravings were not always entirely accurate. All that we ask is that the scene is recognisable to some extent when compared with Slezer’s view.”

Some of the more popular options may be famous buildings captured by Slezer including Linlithgow Palace, Dunblane Cathedral and Stirling and Edinburgh castles.

Details of the competition and how to enter can be found on the Library’s website.

Entries are open from July 13 until October 13. A maximum of six images per person can be entered which may be all of the same place or a mixture of different places.