William H Lizars – Eight Engravings Of The Ruins Occasioned By Great Fires In Edinburgh On The 15th, 16th and 17th November 1842
William Home Lizars (1788-1859) was a painter and engraver. He was active in the founding of the
RSA, but resigned as an Associate in 1830 before being elected as an Honorary Member in 1834. He
is best known for his work on John James Audubon’s amazing Birds of America, published in
Edinburgh in 1827.
Three years before this momentous occasion, on 15th November, a fire had broken out in (as
circumstance would have it) the engraving workshop of James Kirkwood. The fire spread quickly and
ravaged the Old Town until it was brought under control by heavy rain on 19th November. The RSA’s
future Secretary D O Hill sketched the damage and his compatriot Lizars published this series of
commemorative engravings for the benefit of the sufferers of the fire.