Exceedingly lean, dark, rather ruddy-black eyes (drawing-book eyes, Amanuensis) crow’s footed, beginning to be grizzled, general appearance of a blasted boy or blighted youth or to borrow Carlyle on De Quincey ‘child that has been in hell’
The gallery also holds images from the four Albums that the Stevenson family compiled during their travels of the South Seas and time at Vailima from 1889 until the early 1890s. The images, which have rarely been seen by the general public before, offer a significant and intimate glimpse of Stevenson’s family life. The informality of many of the images would have perhaps been impossible within the social confines of Victorian Britain, giving an important insight into not only the private life of the Stevensons abroad, but also the islands themselves and their inhabitants at the period as seen through the eyes of foreign travellers.
The South Seas albums came into the collection at the Writers’ Museum (the Edinburgh Museums Service) in the 1930s. The museum purchased one of the albums, and the other three were donated by Lloyd Osbourne.
We would like to thank the Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service) for giving us access to these images. We would also like to thank Capital Collections for digitizing and researching the images – you can visit the exhibition, “Robert Louis Stevenson: Pacific Travels” on their website to find more details about the individual images from the albums.
You can also click here to find a catalogue of photographs of RLS (detailing the year the photo was taken, a brief description of the photo, and where the photo is held – for example, the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh, or the Beinecke Library, Yale University).