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TITLE
Extract from letter written by Louis-Albert Necker (7 Jan 1840)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_LOUIS_NECKER
PLACENAME
Portree
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Louis Necker
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1400
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from a letter (dated Portree, 7 January) written by the Swiss geologist Louis-Albert Necker de Saussure to Stefan Moricand of Geneva entitled, 'Notice sur une Aurore Boreale qui a lieu le 3 Janvier 1840'. The extract is read here, in French, by David McClymont.

'Notice sur une Aurore Boréale qui a lieu le 3 Janvier 1840. Extrait d'une lettre de M. L. Necker de Saussure, datée de Portsee, île de Sky, le 7 janvier.

Le 3 janvier il avait fait tout le jour un temps charmant, parfaitement serein et doux, un soleil beau et chaud. Vers 9 heures du soir, on vient m'avertir qu'il y a des 'Merry dancers', en gaelic 'Fir schliss', c'est-à-dire hommes gays. - Je m'élance hors de la maison, et vois en effet une assez belle aurore boréale; deux grands arcs concentriques au N. ou NO. sont composés de petits fuseaux lumineux, mobiles, verticaux, parmi lesquels de plus grands et plus larges très-brillans s'élèvent jusqu'à l'étoile polaire, et se rabaissent ensuite environ 10 degrés plus bas. - Une demi-heure plus tard il y a trios arcs, et à 10 ¼ heures elle devient superbe, avec six grands arcs de lumière blanche (comme les précédens) floconneux et en mèches comme des cheveux. Ces arcs, don't les plus larges vers le zénoth, sont disposes en côtes de melon, se réunissant au SO. et au NE. où est la plus vive lumière; l'avant-dernier arc au midi passes sous Orion, et le dernier ou le pays bas attaint Presque Sirius. Cette aurore éclairait sensiblement le pays.'

Louis-Albert Necker de Saussure was born in Geneva on 10 April, 1786. He was educated at the University of Geneva and the University of Edinburgh where he studied chemistry. He enrolled in the classes of Robert Jamieson and became a valuable contributor to the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Wernerian Society. He befriended many of the leading lights of the Scottish Enlightenment including Walter Scott, Webb Seymour, John Hope, and John Playfair.

Necker took trips from Edinburgh to study the geomorphic development of Scotland. He produced the first geological model of the Isle of Arran and published the first geological map of Scotland (1808). He returned to Geneva in 1810 and became Professor of Natural Philosophy. Over the next 30 years he published papers on topics as diverse as crystallography, mineralogy, chemistry, vulcanology, and light. His theories influenced many including Fox Talbot, in early camera design, and Faraday, in his works on electrical conductivity. In 1822 he published 'A Voyage to the Hebrides or Western Isles of Scotland'. The illustration of Fingal's Cave (above) forms the frontispiece of this book.

Necker completed his magnum opus - 'Etudes Geologiques dans les Alpes' - during the winter of 1839-40, spent mainly in Portree. This study became recognised as the definitive work of European geomorphology. Having overseen the publication of the book in Paris and Geneva, Louis returned to Scotland, settling in Portree in April 1841. His last 20 years were spent on Skye where he devoted most of his time to the study of astronomy, in particular the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis. He accompanied Professor Forbes on his regular excursions in Skye and it was Necker who first accurately calculated the height of the Cuilin peaks.

Necker died in Portree in November 1861 and is buried in the old churchyard in the village.

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Extract from letter written by Louis-Albert Necker (7 Jan 1840)

INVERNESS: Portree

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Louis-Albert Necker

This audio extract is from a letter (dated Portree, 7 January) written by the Swiss geologist Louis-Albert Necker de Saussure to Stefan Moricand of Geneva entitled, 'Notice sur une Aurore Boreale qui a lieu le 3 Janvier 1840'. The extract is read here, in French, by David McClymont.<br /> <br /> 'Notice sur une Aurore Boréale qui a lieu le 3 Janvier 1840. Extrait d'une lettre de M. L. Necker de Saussure, datée de Portsee, île de Sky, le 7 janvier.<br /> <br /> Le 3 janvier il avait fait tout le jour un temps charmant, parfaitement serein et doux, un soleil beau et chaud. Vers 9 heures du soir, on vient m'avertir qu'il y a des 'Merry dancers', en gaelic 'Fir schliss', c'est-à-dire hommes gays. - Je m'élance hors de la maison, et vois en effet une assez belle aurore boréale; deux grands arcs concentriques au N. ou NO. sont composés de petits fuseaux lumineux, mobiles, verticaux, parmi lesquels de plus grands et plus larges très-brillans s'élèvent jusqu'à l'étoile polaire, et se rabaissent ensuite environ 10 degrés plus bas. - Une demi-heure plus tard il y a trios arcs, et à 10 ¼ heures elle devient superbe, avec six grands arcs de lumière blanche (comme les précédens) floconneux et en mèches comme des cheveux. Ces arcs, don't les plus larges vers le zénoth, sont disposes en côtes de melon, se réunissant au SO. et au NE. où est la plus vive lumière; l'avant-dernier arc au midi passes sous Orion, et le dernier ou le pays bas attaint Presque Sirius. Cette aurore éclairait sensiblement le pays.'<br /> <br /> Louis-Albert Necker de Saussure was born in Geneva on 10 April, 1786. He was educated at the University of Geneva and the University of Edinburgh where he studied chemistry. He enrolled in the classes of Robert Jamieson and became a valuable contributor to the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Wernerian Society. He befriended many of the leading lights of the Scottish Enlightenment including Walter Scott, Webb Seymour, John Hope, and John Playfair.<br /> <br /> Necker took trips from Edinburgh to study the geomorphic development of Scotland. He produced the first geological model of the Isle of Arran and published the first geological map of Scotland (1808). He returned to Geneva in 1810 and became Professor of Natural Philosophy. Over the next 30 years he published papers on topics as diverse as crystallography, mineralogy, chemistry, vulcanology, and light. His theories influenced many including Fox Talbot, in early camera design, and Faraday, in his works on electrical conductivity. In 1822 he published 'A Voyage to the Hebrides or Western Isles of Scotland'. The illustration of Fingal's Cave (above) forms the frontispiece of this book.<br /> <br /> Necker completed his magnum opus - 'Etudes Geologiques dans les Alpes' - during the winter of 1839-40, spent mainly in Portree. This study became recognised as the definitive work of European geomorphology. Having overseen the publication of the book in Paris and Geneva, Louis returned to Scotland, settling in Portree in April 1841. His last 20 years were spent on Skye where he devoted most of his time to the study of astronomy, in particular the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis. He accompanied Professor Forbes on his regular excursions in Skye and it was Necker who first accurately calculated the height of the Cuilin peaks. <br /> <br /> Necker died in Portree in November 1861 and is buried in the old churchyard in the village.