First published by William Whyte of St. Andrew's Street Edinburgh and republished here on fully-searchable CD-Rom, is The New Picture of Edinburgh. Containing 343 printed pages The New Picture of Edinburgh is subtitled 'Being a Correct Guide to the Curiosities, Public Establishments, and Remarkable Objects in and Near Edinburgh. To which are added, a Description of Leith, and The Trosachs. Containing some twenty-seven engravings of the principal public buildings and a number of very detailed street plans, The New Picture of Edinburgh provides an intimate portrait of the capital as it was in 1816.
The New Picture of Edinburgh cannot be described is not a directory, but rather a topographical description of the city and a number of its suburbs in 1816, and is none the less interesting for that. Beginning with a detailed engraved map of the city showing the principal 'wynds' and 'closes' in the city, there follows a descriptive history of the city from the earliest times down to the present. This is followed by the improvements undertaken in the development of the city from fifteenth century and draws stark contrasts between the irregularity of the old town and the new town, which it is stated has 'no equal' and whose beauty 'excites the admiration of strangers'. The publisher of The New Picture of Edinburgh admitted that many of the public buildings of the city, although once beyond compare, had since the time of the Reformation began to fall into disrepair and not a few had been demolished by over-zealous citizens. In order that these great edifices should not be completely forgotten The New Picture of Edinburgh set itself the task of describing for its readers some of the more remarkable of these buildings.
The descriptions that follow include all of the churches, monasteries and chapels, including engravings of some, such as St. Roque's Chapel, which were mere ruins by 1816 and many others that were in a much more edifying and grand state of repair, such as the Episcopal Chapel on Cowgate Street and St. Andrew's on George Street. There follows physical and historical descriptions of many of the public and municipal buildings and institutions of the city, beginning with Edinburgh Castle and the Parliament House, the Tolbooth or prison and including the weigh House, bridewell, Royal Exchange and the Register Office, Royal College of Physicians and Excise Office to name but a few. Many of the buildings featured in this section include full or half-page engravings.
The latter portion of the The New Picture of Edinburgh is given over to villages and seats close to the city and end with a 'Route to the Trosachs' and descriptions of the scenery of Lock Katrine. Given the relatively early date of the publication and its extremely detailed descriptions of many of the buildings of the city, The New Picture of Edinburgh, is a beautiful descriptive and pictorial record of the City of Edinburgh in 1816.