For more on the British and the Grand Tour, see Jeremy Black, The British Abroad: The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century, New York, Saint Martin’s Press, 1992 and Christopher Hibbert, The Grand Tour, London, Thames Methuen, 1969. To know more specifically about the Scots in Italy, see Basil Skinner, Scots in Italy in the 18th Century, Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1966 and Richard Adam Marks, “The Scots in the Italian Peninsula during the Thirty Years’ War”, The Ulster Earls and Baroque Europe: Refashioning Irish Identities, 1600–1800, Thomas O’Connor and Mary Ann Lyons (eds), Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2009, pp. 336–8.
Reynolds told the students of the Royal Academy: “study […] the great works of the great masters, for ever. Study as nearly as you can, in the order, in the manner, and on the principles, on which they studied.” (Sir Joshua Reynolds, Discourses on Art, New Haven–London, Yale University Press, 1975, p. 113.)
In the discourses he delivered at the Royal Academy, Reynolds often praised the Renaissance masters. He admired above all Raphael and Michelangelo as he wrote that “these two extraordinary men […] certainly have not been excelled, nor equalled since”. (Sir Joshua Reynolds, Discourses on Art, p. 84.)
According to Hogarth, painters should be inspired by nature and not by the works of their illustrious predecessors. In his Analysis of Beauty he explained: “It is […] evident that the painter’s eye may not be a bit better fitted to receive these new impressions, who is in the like manner too much captivated with the works of art. […] This mistake happens chiefly to those who go to Rome for the accomplishment of their studies, as they naturally will, without the utmost care, take the infectious turn of the connoisseur, instead of the painter: and in proportion as they turn by those means bad proficients in their own arts, they become the more considerable in that of a connoisseur. […] It has ever been observed at all auctions of pictures, that the very worst painters sit as the most profound judges.” (William Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, Written with a View of Fixing the Fluctuating Ideas of Taste, London, 1810, p. 5.)
For instance, Nathaniel Hone (1718–1784) was apprenticed to an enamellist whereas Charles Jervas (c. 1675–1739) went to London to become the pupil and assistant of Sir Godfrey Kneller.
According to David Irwin, the majority of painters who went to Italy in the eighteenth century came from the British Isles, France and Germany (David Irwin, Neoclassicism, London, Phaidon, 2000, p. 13). If Italy was the country they visited the most, John Wraight has shown that Switzerland was also a popular destination for British painters (Sir John Wraight, The Swiss and the British, Salisbury, M. Russell, 1987, p. 42–8).
David and Francina Irwin, Scottish Painters at Home and Abroad 1700–1900, London, Faber and Faber, 1975. The Irwins were the first scholars to set Scottish painting in a broader British and European context. In their study, they denounced “the chauvinistic tendency of Scottish writers around 1900 and since to see it as an isolated phenomenon” (David and Francina Irwin, Scottish Painters at Home and Abroad 1700–1900, p. 35).
Before 1975, art historians shared Brydall’s opinion who wrote: “In England, almost to the present day, the influence is felt of Vandyke, Kneller, and other foreigners; but in Scotland there is little indication of foreign influence, except in some of the works of Jamesone, prior to the year 1630.” (Robert Brydall, Art in Scotland. Its Origin and Progress, Edinburgh, William Blackwood and Sons, 1889, p. 218.)
Scottish painting is also studied in a European context in Marion Amblard, “The Scottish School’s Contribution to the Development of European Painting: Exchanges and Interactions between Scottish and European Painters in the Eighteenth Century”, Scotland and Europe, Scotland in Europe, Gilles Leydier (ed.), Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007, pp. 56–68.
For detailed studies on the links between Scotland and the Dutch Republic, as well as on the Scottish communities in the Dutch Republic, see Douglas Catterall, Community Without Borders: Scots Migrants and the Changing Face of Power in the Dutch Republic, c. 1600–1700, Leiden, Brill, 2002 and Alexia Grosjean and Steve Murdoch (eds), Scottish Communities Abroad in the Early Modern Period, Leiden, Brill, 2005, especially the chapters by Douglas Catterall, Ginny Gardner, Andrew Little and Esther Mijers.
Lindsay Errington, “Gold and Silver in Shadow. The Dutch Influence on Nineteenth-Century Scottish Painting”, Dutch Art and Scotland. A Reflection of Taste, Julia Lloyd Williams (ed.), Edinburgh, the Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, 1992, p. 49.
For a detailed account on painting in seventeenth-century Scotland, see Duncan Thomson, Painting in Scotland 1570–1650, Edinburgh, The Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, 1975. See also Michael R. Apted and Susan Hannabuss, Painters in Scotland, 1300–1700: A Biographical Dictionary, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Scottish Record Society, 1978.
Thomson demonstrated that several features of the portraits of Mary Erskine, Countess of Marischal (1626, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) and of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose (1629, the Earl of Southesk) derive from the influence of de Colone (Duncan Thomson, Painting in Scotland 1570–1650, pp. 61–2).
These paintings were imported from the Dutch Republic or from London, where several Dutch still-life painters worked. Waterhouse has explained that “Lord Lothian seems to have been a particular patron of this kind of painting, for there remain at Newbattle Abbey examples of Roestraeten and Collier and the solitary signed ‘Flower Piece’ of B. Ferrers dated 1695.” (Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain 1530–1790, New Haven–London, Yale University Press, 1994, p. 116.)
Thomas Warrender’s Still Life (1708, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) is particularly redolent of Collier’s still-lifes.
Harry Mount, “‘Our British Teniers’: David Wilkie and the Heritage of Netherlandish Art”, David Wilkie. Painter of Everyday Life, Nicholas Tromans (ed.), London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2002, pp. 30–9.
Roger Billcliffe, The Glasgow Boys. The Glasgow School of Painting 1875–1895, London, John Murray, 2002.
The Discovery of Spain. British Artists and Collectors: from Goya to Picasso, exhibition held at the National Gallery of Scotland from 18 July to 11October 2009. The exhibition especially stressed the fact that Wilkie was deeply impressed by the paintings of Velázquez (1599–1660).
Ian Finlay claimed that: “in the Low Countries Calvinism brought painting down to earth and […] it created […] a great school of landscape painting, fully in accord with Calvin’s pleasure in Nature as a design of God’s creation” (Ian Finlay, Scottish Art, London, Longmans Green and co., 1939, p. 5). In Scotland, landscape painting only began to develop at the end of the eighteenth century.
Allan Ramsay opened a studio in his father’s house in Edinburgh.
For more on the development of fine art schools in Western Europe, see Nikolaus Pevsner, Academies of Art: Past and Present, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1940.
Quoted in Robert Brydall, Art in Scotland. Its Origin and Progress, p. 110.
John Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy: 1701–1800, New Haven–London, Yale University Press, 1997.
These are the references of the archives consulted at the Accademia di Luca in which are mentioned Scottish painters. Archivio Storico dell’Accademia di San Luca [hereafter ASASL], Libro originale delle Congregazioni o Verbali delle Medesime, vol. 52, ff. 14, 136 and 139 references to James Byres.
ASASL, Libro originale delle Congregazioni o Verbali delle Medesime, vol. 52, f. 16, about Gavin Hamilton at the Academy.
ASASL, Libro originale delle Congregazioni o Verbali delle Medesime, vol. 54, ff. 136–38, f. 6/b, several references to Jacob More.
ASASL, Libro originale delle Congregazioni o Verbali delle Medesime, vol. 55, f. 71, reference to Jacob More.
See also Angela Cipriani and Enrico Valeriani, I Disegni di Figure nell’ Archivio Storico dell’Accademia di San Luca, vols 2–3, Rome, Quasar, 1989 and 1991.
Among the documents consulted at Edinburgh University Library, the letters of Jacob More, La. IV. 20, M. 13 ff. 1–44 “Letter Book, 1786–87” and the journals of John Ramsay, son of the painter Allan Ramsay, Mss. 1833–4, “Journals of John Ramsay (11 Dec. 1782 to 5 May 1784)” have been particularly useful.
The list is reproduced at the end of this article.
His last two trips were entirely devoted to excavations near Tivoli, since Ramsay had injured his right arm in 1773 and he could no longer paint.
For an overview of Aikman’s career, see James Holloway, “William Aikman, 1682–1731”, Scottish Masters, no. 9, Edinburgh, The Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, 1988.
Travels to the European Continent were not uncommon before the eighteenth century. In the seventeenth century, France and the Dutch Republic were popular destinations with British travellers. For an account of seventeenth-century British travellers in France, see John Lough, France Observed in the Seventeenth Century by British Travellers, Boston, Oriel Press, 1985. For more on seventeenth-century British travellers in the United Provinces, see C. D. Van Strien, British Travellers in Holland during the Stuart Period, Leiden, Brill, 1993.
See Mrs Atholl Forbes, Curiosities of a Scots Charta Chest 1600–1800 with Travels and Memoranda of Sir Alexander Dick, Baronet of Prestonfield, Midlothian Written by Himself, Edinburgh, William Brown, 1897.
Thus Jeremy Black has shown that during the conflicts from 1739 to 1748 which led to war between Britain and both France and Spain, as well as during the Seven Year’s War (1756–1763) the number of British aristocrats and painters visiting Italy decreased (Jeremy Black, The British Abroad: The Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century, pp. 8–9). In time of war, tourists sometimes had to modify their itinerary to reach the Italian peninsula. During the Napoleonic Wars, it became almost impossible to travel and the conflict disrupted the Grand Tour.
Skirving’s sight seemed to have been deeply affected by the months he spent in jail. In 1802, in a letter he sent to his brother, the painter referred to his eyesight problems. He wrote: “What I meant of my sight was, that both eyes were equally strong, for you remember I complained of the right one, but small objects appear forked. At Brest after getting out of prison my companion who would buy some pins at the gate remarked that they were all split; he never dreamed the defect was in his sight, and I cannot make a pen tolerable. Glasses would remedy this but they do not well to paint, for painting requires to see different distances.” (Quoted in Stephen Lloyd, Raeburn’s Rival. Archibald Skirving 1749–1819, Edinburgh, The Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, 1999, p. 22.)
In painting the first representatives of neoclassicism were Gavin Hamilton and Anton Raphael Mengs. At the end of the eighteenth century, the French Jacques-Louis David became the most influential neoclassical painter. The Venetian Antonio Canova, the Dane Bertel Thorvaldsen and the Englishman John Flaxman (1755–1826) are considered as the most famous neoclassical sculptors. As for architecture, Robert Adam (1728–1792) was the leader of neoclassical taste in Britain. There exist several historical and critical overviews of neoclassicism: see Hugh Honour, Neo-Classicism, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1968 and David Irwin, Neoclassicism.
In the eighteenth century, Scottish communities were established in various parts of Continental Europe—in Holland, France, Scandinavia and Poland among others—as well as in the British Empire. Indeed, Smout has written that: “from at least as early as the Hundred Years War, […] the Scots were a people quick to seek their fortunes abroad by temporary or permanent migration. It was a national propensity only checked after 1945 by the collapse of the British Empire.” (T. C. Smout, “Foreword”, Scottish Communities Abroad in the Early Modern Period, Alexia Grosjean and Steve Murdoch (eds), p. v.)
To know more about Scottish communities in Northern and Eastern Europe, see Thomas Fischer, The Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia, Edinburgh, Schulze, 1903 and Jonas Berg and Bo Lagercrantz, Scots in Sweden, Stockholm, the Swedish Institute, 1962. The articles published in Scottish Communities Abroad in the Early Modern Period, Alexia Grosjean and Steve Murdoch (eds), deal with various Scottish communities in Swedish, Polish, Lithuanian, Dutch and Germany cities in the seventeenth century.
The presence of Scottish Jacobites in France has been studied in Edward Corp (ed.), A Court in Exile: the Stuarts in France, 1689–1718, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
To know more specifically about the Scottish community in Bordeaux, see Steve Murdoch, “The French Connection: Bordeaux’s ‘Scottish’ Networks in Context, c. 1670–1720”, Scotland and Europe, Scotland in Europe, Gilles Leydier (ed.), pp. 26–55.
Adam Marks, “The Scots in the Italian Peninsula during the Thirty Years’ War”, pp. 336–8.
Edward Corp has explained that many Scots left Britain after the failure of the Jacobite uprisings in 1715, 1719 and in 1745. The composition of the exiled Stuart court evolved after each of these rebellions and it included an increasing number of Scots. The composition and the life of the exile Stuart court has been studied extensively by Professor Corp. See Edward Corp (ed.), The Stuart Court in Rome: the Legacy of Exile, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2003; Edward Corp (ed.), A Court in Exile: the Stuarts in France, 1689–1718; see also Edward Corp, The Jacobites at Urbino: an Exiled Court in Transition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Olivier Michel, “La Vie quotidienne des peintres à Rome au dix-huitième siècle”, Vivre et Peindre à Rome au xviiie siècle, Rome, École française de Rome, 1996, p. 42.
David Irwin, “Gavin Hamilton: Archaeologist, Painter and Dealer”, The Art Bulletin, June 1962, pp. 87–102.
See Robert Rosemblum, “A Source for David’s ‘Horatii’”, The Burlington Magazine, May 1970, pp. 273–4. See also Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse, “The British Contribution to the Neo-Classical Style in Painting”, Proceedings of the British Academy, no. 150, 1954, pp. 57–74.
For an overview of More’s career, see Patricia R. Andrew, Jacob More 1740–1793, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1981.
Aikman of Ross wrote: “Hamilton is what the Italians call the Premiero, and we students call him the Principal, in the Academy of Painting at Rome all the students apply to him for Direction and instruction in their Studies.” (Quoted in Julia Lloyd Williams, “Gavin Hamilton, 1723–1798”, Scottish Masters, no. 18, Edinburgh, The Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland, 1994, p. 16.)
David Allan, Hector’s Farewell to Andromache, 1773, Accademia di San Luca, Roma.
For the election of Hamilton, see ASASL, Libro originale delle Congregazioni o Verbali delle Medesime,vol. 52, f. 16. For the election of More, see ASASL, Libro originale delle Congregazioni o Verbali delle Medesime, vol. 54, ff. 136–7.
Domenico Corvi, David Allan, 1774, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.
Thus, Willison copied the Madonna della Sedia and the Self-portrait by Raphael; Morison and John Alexander copied the School of Athens and Parnassus by Raphael. John Runciman studied carefully Michelangelo and showed his admiration for this Italian master by representing Michelangelo’s figure of Day in the background of his self-portrait.
David Mackie, Raeburn Life and Art, vol. 1, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1994, p. 43.
Sir Henry Raeburn after Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, David with the Head of Goliath, c. 1785–1786, location unknown.
For several centuries, the majority of artists and art historians shared Nicolas Poussin’s point view concerning Caravaggio. Félibien, who personally knew Poussin (1594–1665), wrote that: “Mr Poussin nous en parloit un jour avec grand mépris. Mr Poussin […] ne pouvoit rien souffrir du Caravage, & disoit qu’il étoit venu au monde pour détruire la Peinture.” (André Félibien, Entretiens sur les Vies et sur les Ouvrages des Plus Excellens Peintres Anciens et Modernes, vol. 3, Amsterdam, 1706, p. 128.)
If Caravaggio was not popular with artists and grand tourists, it was because the realism of his paintings was contrary to the idealised beauty advocated by Winckelmann and neoclassical artists.
Sir Henry Raeburn, Patrick Moir, c. 1784–1785, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Sir Henry Raeburn, Sir John and Lady Clerk of Penicuik, 1792, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
Sir Henry Raeburn, Margaret Macdonald, Mrs Scott Moncrieff, c. 1814, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Batoni’s popularity with British aristocrats has been stressed by the exhibition entitled Pompeo Batoni 1708–1787. The Europe of Courts and the Grand Tour held at the Palazzo Ducale of Lucca from 6 December 2008 to 29 March 2009. Liliana Barroero and Fernando Mazzocca, Pompeo Batoni 1708–1787. L’Europa delle Corti e il Grand Tour, Milano, Silvana Editoriale, 2008.
See also Edgar Peters Bowron and Peter Björn Kerber, Pompeo Batoni: Prince of Painters in Eighteenth-Century Rome, New Haven–London, Yale University Press, 2007.
Gavin Hamilton, Douglas Hamilton, 8th Duke of Hamilton and 5th Duke of Brandon, with Dr John Moore, and Sir John Moore, 1775–1777, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.
For instance, Batoni’s drawings Studies of a Child’s Head, Left Arm and Right Hand (D 2145, prints and drawings collection, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) and Studies of Child’s Legs, Drapery and a Profile Head of Christ(D 2146, prints and drawings collection, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) were attributed to Ramsay: Indeed, they are particularly redolent of Ramsay’s drawing for the head and shoulders of Prince George (D 1908, prints and drawings collection, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh).
Allan Ramsay, D 2144, prints and drawings collection, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.