Today, I am finishing off the design and layout of the new edition of ‘Witness to Rebellion; John Maclean’s Journal of the ’Forty-Five and the Penicuik Drawings.
It has been a fairly arduous process, for although I designed the first edition back in 1996, recovering and assembling the old digital files has proven difficult (the first printer having gone out of business). It would indeed have been easier to start again from scratch. Still, it is almost done now and is looking very handsome (if I do say so myself).
The Journal of John Maclean is the first-hand account of the experiences of an officer of Prince Charles Edward’s army from August 1745, through Prestonpans and the taking of Edinburgh, the march into England to Derby, the withdrawal to Scotland and the final retreat to Drummossie Moor near Inverness, where Maclean was killed in the Battle of Culloden. It is the most poignant telling of the events of the ’45 rebellion that I have come across.
I addition, a remarkable series of drawings from the Clerk Collection at Penicuik House offers a unique view of the participants on both sides of the ’Forty-Five: a Rising for some, for others a Rebellion. No other comparable collection of images is known. These sketches were made in part as a factual record, but more so as an exercise in caricature, perhaps as a diversion from the very real dangers and disasters of the time. The result is an insight on the ’Forty-Five that is both telling and humorous.