Sir David Wilkie

The Bag-Piper

1813, exhibited 1813

Not on display

Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
Oil paint on silk mounted on mahogany
Support: 254 × 200 mm
Presented by Robert Vernon 1847

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.

Gallery label, March 2011

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