Johnson & Boswell’s Tour of Scotland: 250th anniversary

Join us at the Royal Society of Edinburgh to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell’s iconic tour of Scotland in this evening of performance and discussion.

Experience the Edinburgh Makars Dramatic Society‘s reading of Noble Prospects, a new play recounting Johnson and Boswell’s journey, encounters and experiences of Scotland in 1773, largely based on their own words.

Then hear from a panel of experts in Scottish history and literature who will reflect on the context, consequences and significance of the Tour over the last 250 years.

Organised in collaboration with the Walter Scott Research Centre at the University of Aberdeen, join in with this exciting exploration of and reflection on this legendary journey.

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Noble Prospects


Michael Appleby

The Edinburgh Makars Dramatic Society

Mike Appleby has been involved in amateur drama all his life, in acting, directing and backstage, and has written a number of one-act and longer plays. The Tide Is Coming In won the Scottish Community Drama Association Edinburgh festival in 2020 and has been published. Noble Prospects was inspired by the vigour of Johnson and Boswell’s written and reported accounts of their Tour in 1773. In his other life, Mike is a scientist, now retired, working on the assessment and improvement of farm animal welfare, at the University of Edinburgh and then in welfare charities worldwide.


Mark Wilson


Sheila Clarke, Tina Courtier, Carol Davidson, Pierre de Roubin, Chester Parker, Chris Pearson, John Scott Moncrieff, Frank Skelly


Professor Alison Lumsden

Regius Chair in English Literature, University of Aberdeen

Alison is director of the Walter Scott Research Centre. She was a General Editor for the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels and is currently lead editor for a ten volume edition of Walter Scott’s Poetry.

Professor Nigel Leask

Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow

Nigel is an expert on literature between 1720 and 1830, with a special emphasis on travel writing and colonialism, Scottish literature, and the Highlands.

Dr Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart

Senior Lecturer, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Domhnall Uilleam lectures at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, where he teaches the MSc in Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History, as well as undergraduate degrees in Gaelic popular culture, customs and beliefs, and in research skills. Domhnall Uilleam has written widely on the history, literature, material culture, ethnology, folklore and popular culture of the Gàidhealtachd from the seventeenth century onwards, subjects for which he is often interviewed on radio and television.

A statue


Thursday September 28th, 2023 18:00-20:30


The Royal Society of Edinburgh