Drawing of the King's Cave, near Ayr - from the Hutton...
Drawing of the King's Cave, near Ayr - from the Hutton Collection
This sketch shows the King's Cave, which is located on the shoreline close to the seaside town of Ayr. The drawing is entitled 'King's Cave, near Ayr', with the date given as October 1811. It is not known who made this drawing, although it is quite likely to have been Hutton himself.
George Henry Hutton (d. 1827), was a professional soldier and amateur antiquary. English by birth, he had an avid interest in Scottish monastic history, and built up an extensive collection of drawings, writings and artefacts relating mainly to ecclesiastic sites. Hutton himself made sketches of many sites, and also commissioned drawings and architectural plans from friends and professionals. Despite speculation among his contemporaries that he intended to produce a Scottish Monasticon, Hutton always insisted this research was purely for his own interest. The Hutton Collection is now held by the National Library of Scotland, and these drawings date mainly from 1781-92 and 1811-20.
This cave is commonly confused with the King's Cave on the Isle of Arran, which is where Robert the Bruce is reputed to have watched the indefatigable spider. Another famous cave in the sandstone cliffs near Ayr is Peden's Cave, where the Covenanter, Alexander Peden, gave sermons to his congregation. Local legend has it that this cave is also where Robert Burns parted from Mary Campbell, after pledging his love for her.