Patrick Brydone

Patrick Brydone, FRSE, FRS, FSAScot, FSA (5 January 1736 – 19 June 1818) was a Scottish traveller and author who served as Comptroller of the Stamp Office.[1]

Map from Tour through Sicily and Malta, 1806


Brydone was born in Coldingham, Berwickshire, on 5 January 1736,[2] the son of Robert Brydone (1687–1761), the local Church of Scotland minister, and Elizabeth Dysart.

After attending St. Andrews University, he went abroad as travelling tutor or companion (colloquially known as a bearleader), with William Beckford and some other gentlemen. In 1767 or 1768, soon after his return from Switzerland, he went abroad again with Beckford and two others as travelling preceptor. In 1770, he made a tour with these gentlemen through Sicily and Malta, the former island being but little known to travellers of that time.

This tour forms the subject of his book, A Tour through Sicily and Malta, in a Series of Letters to William Beckford, Esq., of Somerly in Suffolk, published in 1773. It was favourably reviewed, and so well received by the reading public, that it went through seven or eight editions in England in his lifetime, and was also translated into French and German. In Italy, nine years after its publication, Count Borch published a volume of Letters to serve as Supplement to the Voyage in Sicily and Malta of Mr. Brydone.[3]

His work became popular for its descriptions, and earned the author admission to the Royal Society. Besides his work on Sicily and Malta, he was the author of some papers in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions.[3]

In 1783 he was a founder member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He held the appointment of comptroller of the stamp office. The latter part of his life was spent in retirement and he died on 19 June 1818 at Lennel House in Berwickshire.[3]


In 1785 he married Mary Robertson, the daughter of Prof William Robertson.[4] They had three daughters the eldest of which, Mary, married Gilbert Elliot who became the 2nd Earl of Minto.[5]

Major worksEdit

  • Brydone, Patrick (1806). A tour through Sicily and Malta in a series of letters to William Beckford. London: Cadell and Davies.



  1. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). Vol. I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c Benson 1886.
  4. ^ "Dr. William Robertson".
  5. ^ Evans, John P. (15 July 2014). A Quite Remarkable Man by John P. Evans. ISBN 9781445639024.