Sir David Wilkie
The Bag-Piper 1813, exhibited 1813

Artwork details

Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
The Bag-Piper
Date 1813, exhibited 1813
Medium Oil paint on silk mounted on mahogany
Dimensions Support: 254 x 200 mm
Acquisition Presented by Robert Vernon 1847
Not on display

Display caption

Wilkie exhibited this intimate portrait in 1813, when his reputation as a painter of character was already well-established. As a Scottish artist, Wilkie was keen to elevate the status of his national school. Here, however, he seems to draw on stereotypes, showing his character with a red nose and cheeks, auburn hair and thick eyebrows. These elements evoke the wildness associated with the Scots by many 19th-century English viewers. While Wilkie’s picture may appear to be taken from life, it also answered a demand for romanticised images of Scotland.

March 2011

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