Walter Scott


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Sir Walter Scott Coursing (1817 or 1824)

In their 1842 sale of work by Sir David Wilkie, Christie's listed a sketch entitled 'Sir Walter Scott Coursing' which was bought by Scott's publisher Robert Cadell. Francis Russell, in his Portraits of Sir Walter Scott (p. 91), speculates that Wilkie may have executed it during one of two stays at Abbotsford: in October 1817, when Wilkie commented in a letter to his sister on Scott's passion for coursing hares, or in November 1824 when Scott described 'some fine coursing at Bowhill' in a letter to his son Walter (Letters, VIII, 425). Russell argues that the figures in the only known sketch by Wilkie of such a subject, dated 1824, are too small to permit positive identification. It is unclear whether Russell is referring here to the sketch published as 'Sir Walter Scott Coursing' in an engraving by William Dickes in vol. XII of the Abbotsford Edition of the Waverley Novels (1847). It seems probable that this is the sketch bought by Cadell (publisher of the Abbotsford Edition) and possible that Russell is unaware of the engraving. See below for a full-size image of the engraving; Scott is the second figure from the left.


  • Cunningham, Allan. The Life of Sir David Wilkie: With His Journals, Tours, and Critical Remarks on Works of Art; And a Selection from his Correspondence (London : J. Murray, 1843)
  • Russell, Francis. Portraits of Sir Walter Scott: A Study of Romantic Portraiture (London: The Author, 1987)
  • Scott, Walter, Sir.The Letters of Sir Walter Scott, ed. H.J.C. Grierson (London: Constable, 1932-37)

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Last updated: 19-Apr-2005
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