In London before the Scottish Journey

Before the Scottish tour, Felix went first to London where he arrived in April 1829 and made an immediate impact on London concert life. This was the beginning of his long and fruitful association with the capital which he was to visit nine more times during his life.  During this 1829 visit he conducted his first symphony, with its alternative 3rd movement which was his own orchestration of the Scherzo from the Octet, and he also gave the UK premiere of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, impressing audiences by playing the solo piano part from memory.

Whilst still in London, Felix and Karl Klingemann got together to discuss their forthcoming trip to Scotland and Felix recorded the occasion with a sketch of a table spread with food and conspicuously in the middle of the table, a Map of Scotland.  

Lunch Table with Map of Scotland

Frontispiece for the tour of Scotland: the planning session, an interior showing a table littered with the debris of a meal and a volume prominently labelled “MAP/SCOTLAND”.  A note on the opposite page mentions “Lunch” on 27 June, apparently with Klingemann. 
Bodleian notebook. 12ar

This same map still exists and is in the possession of Mendelssohn’s Great Granddaughter, Cecile Stheeman, who lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England. This photo, taken in 2009, shows Mrs Stheeman holding that same map.

Cecile Stheeman holding Mendelssohn’s Map of Scotland

Cecile Stheeman holding Mendelssohn’s Map of Scotland.
In the background, a portrait of her great grandmother, Cecile Mendelssohn, née Jeanrenaud.

Their intended journey was described by Mendelssohn in a letter home from Edinburgh on 28 July.

Felix Mendelssohn – letter, Edinburgh, 28 July 1829:

The Highland journey will be as follows: via Stirling, Perth, Dunkeld, and the waterfalls to Blair Atholl; thence on foot over the hills to Inverary, to Glencoe, the Isle of Staffa, and the Isle of Islay; there a stay of several days will be made, because Sir Alexander Johnston has sent after me a letter of introduction to Sir Walter Campbell, the lord, owner, and tyrant of the island, whom a word of Johnston’s tames and turns into a willing guide. From thence up the Clyde to Glasgow, then to Ben Lomond, which with the Loch Lomond forms the Highland Lion, to Loch Earn, Ben Voirlich, Loch Katrine; then to Cumberland.

In fact they never got as far as Islay; perhaps they ran out of time, or perhaps Felix’s experience of being sea sick on their trip to see the Isle of Staffa was enough to put him off another ferry journey to a Hebridean island! Their actual route once they reached Scotland can be seen on the map below.

Map of Scotland

These images, protected by copyright and watermark, are for reference use only. The downloading, reproduction, copying, publication or distribution of any image that appears on this website is forbidden by law.