After attending St. Andrews University, he went abroad as travelling tutor or companion, with William Beckford and some other gentlemen. In 1767 or 1768, soon after his return from Switzerland, he went abroad again with Mr. Beckford of Somerly and two others as travelling preceptor. In 1770, he made a tour with these gentlemen through Sicily and Malta, the former island being but little known to travellers of that time. This tour forms the subiect of his book, ‘A Tour through Sicily and Malta, in a Series of Letters to William Beckford, Esq., of Somerly in Suffolk,’ published in 1773. It was favourably reviewed, and so well received by the reading public, that it went through seven or eight editions in England in his lifetime, and was also translated into French and German. In Italy, nine years after its publication, Count Borch published a volume of ‘Letters to serve as Supplement to the Voyage in Sicily and Malta of Mr. Brydone.'
His work became popular for its descriptions, and earned the author admission to the Royal Society. Besides his work on Sicily and Malta, he was the author of some papers in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions.
In 1783 he was a founder member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He held the appointment of comptroller of the stamp office. The latter part of his life was spent in retirement and he died on 19 June 1818 at Lennel House in Berwickshire.
He married the daughter of Prof William Robertson.
- A Tour Through Sicily and Malta: In a Series of Letters to William Beckford, Esq. of Somerly in Suffolk (1st ed. 1773).
- Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Benson 1886.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Benson, George Vere (1886). "Brydone, Patrick". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 7. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 166–167.
- Turner, Katherine (2004). "Brydone, Patrick (1736–1818)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
- Chaney, Edward (2000). The Evolution of the Grand Tour. London: Routledge.
- Fussell, Paul (1963). "Patrick Brydone: The Eighteenth-Century Traveler As Representative Man". Literature As a Mode of Travel. New York: New York Public Library. pp. 53–67. OCLC 83683507.
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