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The Scottish Nation

DENNISTOUN, JAMES, of Dennistoun, an accomplished writer on art, was born in Dumbartonshire in 1803. He was the representative of one of the oldest families of Scotland, an account of which has been already given in this work. He was educated at the university of Glasgow, and studied for the bar at Edinburgh. He passed advocate in 1824, but being in possession of a sufficient fortune, he soon abandoned the legal profession, and devoted his whole attention to literature, in connexion chiefly with the fine arts. He was a member of the Bannatyne, Maitland, and other clubs, formed for collecting materials for, and adding to and illustrating, our literature. For the Bannatyne Club he edited, in 1830, Moyse’s ‘Affairs of Scotland,’ from 1577 to 1603; in 1834, a Chartulary; a reprint of the Lomond Expedition, with some short reflections on the Perth Manifesto, 1715. In 1840 he edited for the Maitland Club, the Coltness Collection, 1608; and in 1842, the Ranking of the Nobility for the Maitland Club Miscellany. He also contributed many interesting papers on subjects connected with art to most of the leading periodicals, particularly to the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews. To the former he furnished a masterly analysis of the ‘Report by the Commission on the National Gallery.’ His most important work, ‘The Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino,’ which appeared in 1851, is of great value, as illustrating the state of Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries, the portion devoted to the arts of the period being particularly interesting. His ‘Memoirs of Sir Robert Strange’ appeared in 1855. Connected by marriage with a descendant of Strange, he was in possession of all the family documents, and was well qualified to do justice to the first line engraver of his day.

Mr. Dennistoun died at Edinburgh, February 13th, 1855.

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