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The Scottish Nation

STRANG, STRANGE, or STRONG, a surname originally of Fifeshire. An ancient family of this name possessed, at one time, the estate of Balcaskie, parish of Carnbee, in that county. John Strang of Balcaskie, married, before 1362, Cecilia, sister of Richard Anstruther of that ilk, and received from the latter certain tenements in Anstruther.

In 1466 William Strang of Balcaskie was one of an assize of perambulation for clearing of marches. In 1482 John Strang of Balcaskie and Ewingston had a charter to these lands, which were, in the same year, acquired by George Strang, probably his father, from George Porteous, portioner thereof, in exchange for the lands of Whiteside and Glenkirk,

John Strang of Balcaskie is mentioned in 1514 and 1521. He had a son, George, who, in 1517, formed one of a jury who made a valuation of Fifeshire. George predeceased his father, leaving a son. John Strang of Balcaskie was slain at Pinkie in 1547, and was succeeded by his grandson.

In 1605 a son of the family joined the expedition to the Lewis, for the colonization of that island and improvement of the fisheries. On the destruction of the expedition this gentleman settled in the Orkneys.
John Strang of Balcaskie, born before 1578, had a son, Thomas, who, in 1641, was served heir to his great-grandfather, slain at Pinkie. After the sale of Balcaskie, in 1615, he became colonel of Cochrane’s Scots regiment.

Sir Robert Strange, the eminent engraver, a memoir of whom is given below, was the fourth in lineal descent from Sir David Magnus Strang or Strange, sub-chanter of Orkney from 1544 to 1565. Sir David is assumed to have been a younger son of the Strangs of Balcaskie, of which, however, there is no proof.

The family of Strang of Pitcorthie, in the same county, descended from John Strang, who, about 1306, married Christian Duddingston, and with her acquired Wester Pitcorthie. In 1447 Sir William Oliphant of Kellie granted the half of Easter Pitcorthie to his grandson, Walter Strang. Another Walter Strang of Pitcorthie is supposed to have fallen at Flodden. He left three heiresses, Isabel, Giles, and Agnes, who divided Pitcorthie among them.

STRANG, DR. JOHN, a learned divine of the 17th century, was the son of Mr. William Strang, minister of Irvine, in Ayrshire, where he was born in 1584. He lost his father while still very young, but his mother soon after married Mr. Robert Wilkie, minister of Kilmarnock, under whose care he was educated at the public school of that town. At the age of twelve he was sent to study Greek and philosophy at St. Leonard’s college, St. Andrews. In his sixteenth year, he obtained the degree of M.A., and shortly after he was appointed one of the regents of the college. In 1613 he became minister of Errol, in the presbytery of Perth. IN 1616, at the recommendation of James VI., he and several other persons were invested with the degree of D.D. at St. Andrews. IN 1618 he voted against the five articles of Perth, notwithstanding which he was appointed a member of the court of high commission, but never attended its meetings. IN 1620 he was chosen one of the ministers of Edinburgh, but preferred remaining at Errol. In 1626 he was appointed principal of the university of Glasgow, in place of Mr. John Cameron, resigned. He rendered himself exceedingly unpopular with the more rigid Presbyterians by his temporizing measures; and among the papers of Charles I., found after the battle of Naseby, was discovered a letter of his addressed to Dr. Balcanquhal, with a treatise, entitled ‘Reasons who all his Majesty’s orthodox Subjects, and, namely, those who subscribed the late Covenant, should thankfully acquiesce to his Majesty’s late Declaration and Proclamations, with an Answer to the Reasons objected in the late Protestation to the contrary.’ In 1650 he demitted his office of principal, and retired on an annuity allowed him by the visitors of the university. He died at Edinburgh, June 20, 1564. He was the author of a treatise, De Voluntate et Actionibus Dei circa peccatum, printed by the Elzevirs at Amsterdam in 1657; also, of one, De Interpretatione et Perfectione Scripturae. Rotterdam. 1663.

STRANGE, SIR ROBERT, an eminent engraver, was born in the island of Pomona in Orkney, July 14, 1721. He was lineally descended from Sir David Strange, or Strang, a younger son of the family of Balcaskie in Fifeshire, who settled in Orkney at the time of the Reformation. After receiving a classical education at Kirkwall, he was intended for the law, but, disliking that profession, he went on board a man-of-war bound for the Mediterranean. On his return, some of his sketches were shown to Mr. Richard Cooper, an engraver in Edinburgh, who took him as an apprentice, and he soon made rapid progress in the arts. When the rebel army entered Edinburgh in September 1745, he was induced to join the service of the Pretender; and he continued to act as one of the prince’s life-guards till his defeat at Culloden; after which he was obliged to conceal himself for several months in the Highlands. When the vigilance of the government was somewhat abated he returned to Edinburgh, where he contrived to maintain himself by the sale of the portraits of the rebel leaders, of which great numbers were sold at a guinea each. IN 1747 he married Isabella, only daughter of William Lumisden, son of Bishop Lumisden; and soon after he went to Paris, where he prosecuted his studies, under the direction of the celebrated Le Bas, from whom he had the first hint of the use of the instrument called the dry needle, which he afterwards greatly improved by his own genius. In 1751 he removed to London, where he settled, and engraved several fine historical prints, which deservedly raised his reputation. As historical engraving had at that period made little progress in Britain, he may justly be considered the father of that difficult department of the art. In 1760 he set out for Italy, which, as the seat of the fine arts, he had long been anxious to visit. The drawings made by him in the course of this tour he afterwards engraved. While in Italy he was chosen a member of the Academies of Rome, Florence, Bologna, and professor in the Royal Academy at Parma. He was likewise elected a member of the Royal Academy of Painting at Paris. He received the honour of knighthood January 5, 1787; and died at London, July 5, 1792. Subjoined is his portrait from a print engraved by himself:

[portrait of Sir Robert Strange]

He published,

A Descriptive Catalogue of a Collection of Pictures selected by him on the Continent; with remarks on the present painters and their works. Lond. 1769, 8vo.
An Inquiry into the Rise and Establishment of the Royal Academy of Arts; to which is prefixed a Letter to the Earl of Bute. Lond. 1775, 8vo.

The following is an authentic list of his engravings taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica, seventh edition:

Two heads of himself, one an etching, the other a finished proof, from a drawing by John Baptiste Greuse.
The Return from Market. By Wouvermans.
Cupid. By Vanloo.
Mary Magdalen. By Guido.
Cleopatra. By the same.
The Madonna. By the same.
The Angel Gabriel. By the same.
The virgin, holding in her hand a book, and attended by angels. By Carlo Maratt.
The Virgin with the Child asleep. By the same.
Liberality and Modesty. By Guido.
Apollo rewarding Merit and punishing Arrogance. By Andrea Sacchi.
The finding of Romulus and Remus. By Pietro de Cortona.
Caesar repudiating Pompeia. By Pietro de Cortona.
Three Children of Charles I. By Vandyke.
Belisarius. By Salvator Rosa.
St. Agnes. By Domenichino.
The Judgment of Hercules. By Nicolas Poussin.
Venus attired by the Graces. By Guido.
Justice and Meekness. By Raphael
The offspring of Love. By Guido.
Cupid Sleeping. By Guido.
Abraham giving up the handmaid Hagar. By Guercino.
Esther, a suppliant before Ahasuerus. By Guercino.
Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. By Guido.
Venus blinding Cupid. By titian.
Venus. By Guido.
Danae. By the same.
Portrait of Charles I. By Vandyke.
The Madonna. By Corregio.
St. Cecilia. By Raphael.
Mary Magdalen. By Guido.
Our Saviour appearing to his Mother after his resurrection. By Guercino.
A Mother and Child. By Parmegiano.
Cupid Meditating. By Schidoni.
Laomedon, King of Troy, detected by Neptune and Apollo. By Salvator Rosa.
The death of Dido. By Guercino.
Venus and Adonis. By Titian.
Fortune. By Guido.
Cleopatra, By the same.
Two Children at School. By Schidoni.
Mary Magdalene. By Corregio.
Portrait of King Charles I., attended by the Marquis of Hamilton. By Vandyke.
Queen Henrietta attended by the Prince of Wales, and holding in her arms the Duke of York. By the same.
Apotheosis of the Royal Children. By West.
The Annunciation. By Guido.
Portrait of Raphael. By himself.
Sappho. By Carlo Dolce.
Our Saviour Asleep. By Vandyke.
St. John in the Desert. By Murillo.

Towards the close of his life, he formed about eighty reserved proof copies of his best plates into as many volumes, to which he prefixed a portrait of himself, with a general title page, and an introduction on the history of Engraving. This work his death prevented him from publishing.

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