Etched in Stone

Etching of Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish National Art Gallery by Robert Houston (LEO Design)

Sadly, this year's travel plans have been supplanted with overdue home projects, including the hanging and cataloging of my personal collection of paintings and other artwork.  So this summer, in lieu of an overseas getaway, I could only gaze wistfully at framed pictures as I hung them—many of them reminding me of my favorite travel destinations (and vacations gone by).  Let me share a few of them with you.  Alas, this shall be the extent of my romantic journeys for Summer 2020.  On the whole, I have little to complain of.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy a few more "little journeys,' gazing at my pictures of my favorite places.

For several years, before I had cultivated a group of dear friends in Brighton, I would head to Scotland after every London buying trip.  Being from New York—where an "old" building might top 125 years—I was transfixed by Edinburgh's brutal, rusticated stonework on buildings a thousand years old.  Dark, heavy stone was everywhere—some of it natural, some of it transformed by human hands to build, pave or decorate.  I came to love buying Scottish antiques.

I stayed in a modest hotel, very close to Waverley Station.  On my last night in Edinburgh, I would always make a reservation for dinner at The Witchery—a spooky (but wonderful) restaurant at the top of The Royal Mile, just before the castle gates.  (If you go, be sure to book a table in the small, front room.)  I was usually there in March or October, meaning it was typically windy and cold at night.  I was always impressed by the wiry Scottish "lads" (skinny but really durable), leaning-into the wind as they trudged (in tee shirts) from pub to pub.

Come to think of it, many of my favorite objects (retained in my personal collection) were procured in Scotland.  In time, as I noted above, I developed some wonderful friendships with people from Brighton.  After this, I began to go South after London to shop in Brighton and the South of England.  But I think of Edinburgh very fondly and promise to return one day soon.

The picture above, etched by Robert Houston in the 1920's, shows Edinburgh Castle from New Town.  The Scottish National Gallery lies in the foreground.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248