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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This report begins: 'An account of the Execution of John Thomson and David Dobie, for the Assault, Murder and Robbery of Margaret Paterson, on the 17th April last, with an affectionate Letter sent to Dobie's Wife.' This sheet was published by Robertson and Thomson of Edinburgh, and cost one penny.

This broadside combines an eye-catching mixture of text and woodcut graphics to describe the execution of The Gilmerton Murderers, David Dobie and John Thomson. The opening woodcut image is of the public scaffold, followed by unflattering sketches of the two murderers that surround a drawing of the victim. This broadside is part of a sequence reporting this particular murder, with the other sheets available for viewing at the National Library of Scotland?s collection.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(67)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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