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.

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.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 1JD
0131 624 6200

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm. (6pm during August). Open from noon on 1 Jan. Closed 25 – 26 Dec.

Exhibitions at Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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