About the John Francis Campbell Collection

About the John Francis Campbell Collection

The John Francis Campbell Collection is a collection of digitized pictures from Northern Scandinavia and North-Western Russia, made by John Francis Campbell on his journeys to these areas 1849-1873. The originals to these pictures are kept in The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the digitized version is presented by The University Library of Tromsø. John Francis Campbell was an enthusiastic traveller. His journeys took him to many parts of the world, but he had particular affection for the Scandinavian countries, to which he kept returning. During the period 1849 to 1873 he visited Scandinavia 11 times, six of which he travelled in the Northern Areas. Campbell was very accomplished in pencil drawing and water-colour painting and he used his artist equipment frequently during his travels. In addition to the journals, he's left a lot of sketch-books from his journeys containing thousands of drawings and water-colours. This whole material is stored in The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, and The John Francis Collection as presented here is the part covering Northern Scandinavia and North-Western Russia. The pictures are covering his main occupations during his travels: The Sami people, salmon fishing, geological and glaciological studies.

John Francis Campbell was born in Edinburgh 1821 and brought up on his family estate on the Scottish island of Islay. His father was a Scottish nobleman and John Francis might have become Laird of Islay had not the family's fortunes been dissipated by improvements on Islay. The family had to leave Islay in 1847 and the father went to live in Normandy, supported by friends.

After qualifying in law in 1851, Campbell was called to the Bar of the Inner Temple in London. But the law held no attraction for him. In 1854 he was appointed Private Secretary to the Duke of Argyll, a position which brought him into contact with many of the leading men of the day. These contacts made it possible to achieve appointment as secretary to several Royal Commissions during the fifties and sixties. Apart from this work he cultivated a lot of scientific interests, like geology, glaciology, anthropology, linguistics. 1860-62 he published four volumes of "Popular Tales of the West Highlands", the first collection of Gaelic tales ever published. 1865 he published two volumes of "Frost and Fire" in which he described in popular style the formation of the earth's crust.

John Francis Campbell died in 1885.

Use of the material

Use of the pictures in low resolution is allowed for private use and for educational purposes. For use in other contexts (i.e. as illustrations in books, exhibitions, etc.) please contact the National Library of Scotland.

Who is behind this project?

The John Francis Campbell Collection was created by the University Library at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in collaboration with The National Library of Scotland. Academic responsibility by Sigmund Nesset. Technical responsibility and web development by Karl Magnus Nilsen.