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’

(A self description in a letter from RLS to J.M Barrie, 2/3 April 1893. From The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, ed. by Bradford A. Booth and Ernest Mehew, vol viii [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995], p.44)


The Media pages of the RLS Website chart Stevenson’s life in pictures, and includes video interviews and recording of RLS events. Here you will find images of RLS from a small child through to his death.

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.

RLS in the South Seas
Images courtesy of Capital Collections

We would also like to give special thanks to all of the other museumslibraries and private collectors who have contributed to these pages.

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).