Episode 25: The Old Portrait by Hume Nisbet

Hume Nisbet

Human Nisbet was a Scottish born novelist an artist. He was born in sterling in Scotland and was trained as an artist from an early age. Nisbet moved to Australia at the age of 16.He spent a lot of time travelling around Australia and New Zealand and then returned to Great Britain.

He first went back to London in 1872 but did not achieve great success with his art so went back to Scotland and became an art master in Edinburgh. Nisbet did achieve some success as a book illustrator.

As well as his illustration work, much of his income came from writing rather than painting and he published 40 to 50 novels and volumes of poetry.

As was in vogue at the time he wrote a number of ghost and horror stories. Again a lot of these were set in Australia where he spent a lot of time.

Nisbet wrote vampire stories as well as ghost stories and this story here read out – the old portrait is a clever short story on a vampire theme. Most vampire stories have a Gothic object in which the vampire dwells. Most famously this is the castle in Dracula, but we also see the family castle and the ruins of Karnstein in Carmilla.

I think it is legitimate to say that the picture frame in this story is in fact the Gothic habitation of the vampire. Once the narrator has cleaned up the picture frame he sees that the decoration he wants took as being fine art is in fact the exquisite working of worms and other deathlike themes. Very gothic.

A nice short Christmas vampire story for you to listen to on Christmas Day!

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