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Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston, H.R.S.A. (1778-1840)
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Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston, H.R.S.A. (1778-1840)

Self-portrait at an easel, 14 November 1816

Details
Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston, H.R.S.A. (1778-1840)
Self-portrait at an easel, 14 November 1816
with inscription 'Self Portrait Study, Painted November 14 1816, and succeding days Rev. John Thomson, H.R.S.A. Born 1778 Died 1840' (on the reverse of millboard)
oil on prepared millboard
15½ x 11½ in. (40 x 29 cm.)
Provenance
Robert W. Napier, author of John Thomson of Duddingston, Landscape Painter, His Life and Work, Edinburgh, 1919.
Sir James Hunter Blair, 7th bt., by 1963.
Literature
F. Russell, 'Confidence and Taste: The Blairquhan Collection', Country Life, 14 August 1986, p.504.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

While studying to be ordained, John Thomson took drawing lessons from Alexander Nasmyth in 1797, his final year at Edinburgh University. In 1805 he was transferred from Dailly, Ayrshire, to be minister of Duddingston, a village situated on the lower slopes of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh on the eastern edge of Holyrood Park and overlooking Duddingston Loch.

At Duddingston, Thomson developed a broad, romantic technique inspired by the Scottish landscape. He exhibited in Edinburgh from 1808 until his death, and intermittently in London at the Royal Academy and British Institution, becoming an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1830. He moved in a literary and artistic circle that included Sir Walter Scott, Sir David Wilkie, Sir Henry Raeburn, Alexander Nasmyth and J.M.W. Turner. Notably, contemporary portraits of Thomson show the artist in his black cleric's robes, but in the present work, he has pointedly painted himself in the plain clothes of an artist.
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