Architectural drawings by William Henry Playfair

Illustration of the Mound: East elevation,

This collection of architectural drawings by William Henry Playfair (15 July 1790 – 19 March 1857) have been digitised by the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research Collections and made available on a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence for anyone to re-use and share.

William Henry Playfair was a prominent Scottish architect in the 19th century, who designed the Eastern, or Third, New Town and many of Edinburgh’s neoclassical landmarks.

The drawings in the collection range from Playfair’s student drawings, sketch designs and preliminary schemes, to many presentation drawings in watercolours. The earliest catalogued plans, elevations and sections relate to the commission to complete the University (the College of Edinburgh), 1817 onwards. The Advocates’ Library, Royal Terrace, Regent Terrace, the National Gallery, the National Monument, and New College also feature in the collection. Other material relates to the Observatory, Edinburgh, and Dollar Academy and Bathgate Academy, and other commissions up to around 1849.

Click here for archival information about William Henry Playfair collections

Click here to view the digitised architectural drawings by William Henry Playfair


Header Image: 44.5 x 127; Mound: East elevation, large scale, Second Design, William Henry Playfair, The University of Edinburgh Library, CC BY 3.0