Now specially commissioned paintings of the capital by his great-great-grand-daughter Lucy Dickens have gone on public sale following the collapse of a development company.

Dickens made regular trips to the city, which was the first to recognise his achievements by making him a freeman, and he was deeply honoured to also be made a burgess and guild-brother of the Corporation of Edinburgh – “a city so distinguished in literature and so distinguished in the arts”.

It was during a visit to Auld Reekie, while walking through the Canongate Kirk graveyard, he saw a memorial slab for “Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie – meal man”.

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He mistook this for “mean man” and it became the inspiration for his infamous Christmas Carol character, Ebenezer Scrooge.

It was the development of a massive city-centre site not far from that graveyard which resulted in the series of paintings of Edinburgh now up for public sale.

The paintings were commissioned by Mountgrange, the company behind the £300 million Caltongate scheme, which went into administration earlier this year. They are for sale by private treaty through ANM Specialist Auctions of Thainstone, Aberdeenshire.

Caltongate is based in the heart of Edinburgh, just yards from Waverley Railway Station and Edinburgh’s financial district, and the proposals would have involved the biggest development of the Old Town of Edinburgh since the 12th century.

Mountgrange commissioned the five paintings from Ms Dickens, who has exhibited widely in the UK and New York. She usually paints in oils and uses light and shade to capture the drama involved in everyday situations.

However, her commission for Mountgrange involved paintings of iconic Edinburgh scenes in and around the Calton area.

One looks towards the Scott Monument, not one of her great-great-grandfather’s favourite edifices.

During a visit to the city in 1847 for a reading of A Christmas Carol, three years after the completion of the memorial to fellow author Sir Walter Scott, he said: “I’m sorry to report the Scott Monument a failure. It is like the spire of a Gothic church taken off and stuck in the ground.”

Another is a view of Lady Stair’s close leading to 17th-century Lady Stair’s’ House which is now the Writers’ Museum dedicated to Scotland’s great literary figures such as Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

The other paintings are a view of Calton Hill and views over the Balmoral Hotel and Princes Street Gardens towards the Castle and over Caltongate.

The paintings are on sale on the instructions of Deloitte LLP, administrators of Mountgrange. Grant Rogerson, general manager of Thainstone Specialist Auctions, said there had been significant interest but as yet no proper bid.

“Because she is such a well-known artist people might be surprised, in the present climate, just how little they might go for,” he said. “They are probably not out of a lot of people’s range.”

Lucy Dickens became a full-time artist in 1990 having previously worked as a fashion stylist for Condé Naste and a freelance illustrator.

She began to paint while writing and illustrating a series of children’s books, which were successfully published in London and New York. She says she is fascinated by figures, alone or in groups, how the light falls on them and the spaces around them.

She said: “The people I paint are not doing anything extraordinary. They are simply ‘being’ or interacting – lost in their own thoughts, going about their business or gossiping with friends.

“I am essentially painting a glimpse or snapshot of everyday happenings. These are real situations, vignettes of ordinary life, and I am there with my sketchbook as an observer and reporter, capturing the moment, which I will later interpret and develop.”

The paintings can be seen at