Portrait bust of Sir Walter Scott by Bertel Thorvaldsen

It is ironic that the last portrait of the great Romantic writer Sir Walter Scott (1771-1852), was produced by Thorvaldsen, a Danish artist whose work epitomised the classical tradition to which Scott was so opposed.


56 cm
Art Fund grant:
£27,500 ( Total: £110,000)
Acquired in:
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

The two met during Scott's trip to Italy in the last year of his life. The meeting was said to be emotional but,silent as they did not share a common language. It is not known who commissioned the bust nor, whether it was made while Scott was still alive or, from sketches made by the sculptor which resulted in a posthumous portrait. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Possibly the marble'Ritratto di Valdrescot' mentioned in the artist's account books; Captain Edward Cheney; his nephew Edward capel Cure; Christie's 4-5 May 1905, lot 230; with Agnew's; charles Fairfax Murray; Robert Fraser Gowan.

Venue details

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 1 Queen Street, EDINBURGH Edinburgh EH2 1JD 0131 624 6200 www.nationalgalleries.org

Entry details

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