Scottish Artists 1750 – 1900: From Caledonia to the Continent¸The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 9th October 2016
This is a somewhat personal exhibition in the fact that it reveals royal patronage of Scottish artists starting with George III’s of Allan Ramsay who painted the King’s well known State portrait and was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to His Majesty. He also painted a delightful picture of Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons which conveys an atmosphere of domesticity in what is obviously a royal portrait.
One can easily see why George IV, as Prince Regent and King, liked the work of Sir David Wilkie since his scenes of everyday Scottish life echo the Dutch genre paintings so loved by the monarch. Following Wilkie’s trip to Continental Europe after a nervous breakdown he returned with a much more open style of painting and in 1828 George purchased five of his continental works, including ones set in Spain and appointed him as his Principal Painter in Ordinary. A post that Wilkie continued to hold under William IV and Queen Victoria until his death in 1841.
Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert (Prince Consort) were active supporters of the Arts and some Scottish artists such as Sir Joseph Noël Paton (1821–1901), David Roberts (1796–1864), James Giles (1801–1870) and John Phillip (1817–1867) painted pictures that were Christmas and birthday presents between the couple. Queen Victoria favoured Scottish landscapes while Prince Albert, an admirer of early Italian art, was impressed by the works of William Dyce. Their interests also included works depicting the Middle East and Spanish life.
In 1888 the future Edward VII was presented with two albums of works by member of the Glasgow Art Club when he went to open the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in the city’s Kelvingrove Park, including the one shown here.
There is also a group of furniture – a writing table and a pair of tables – supplied by the Edinburgh firm of Young, Trotter and Hamilton to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the comte d’Artois, younger brother of Louis XVI and the future Charles X of France. Fleeing from large debts on the Continent he was offered shelter at Holryroodhouse in 1796 and remained there until 1803.