A painting from 1825 by Alexander Nasmyth hangs in the National Gallery of Scotland, a view of Edinburgh looking east along Princes Street; under construction to the south is Playfair's great Doric temple, the Royal Institution (now the Royal Scottish Academy), while beyond, across parkland, there is North Bridge and, in the distance, Arthur's Seat. More importantly Nasmyth shows us the contrast between the Old Town to his right -with buildings achieving some 10-12 storeys in height as the backlands of the High Street fall away into the hollow yet to become Princes Street Gardens - and the New Town to his left. The view being expressed is that the congested Old Town has been left behind for a cleaner, healthier and more open space, a beautiful new world order.
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