Walter Scott


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Sir John Watson Gordon's Unfinished Portrait of Scott (1830?)

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery holds an unfinished half-length portrait by Sir John Watson Gordon depicting Sir Walter Scott in three-quarter face, turned to the left. Francis Russell has argued that its composition was worked out at the same time as Gordon's 1830 portrait of Scott for Robert Cadell, for which Scott sat in March 1830 (Portraits of Sir Walter Scott, p. 41). Six signed replicas of the portrait have been identified, including a vignette in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery which was apparently made to be engraved. Engravings by Samuel Freeman and Henry Robinson, clearly derived from the vignette, were published by Blackie & Son in 1835 and 1837 respectively. Also derived from Gordon's unfinished painting is the image of Scott in Thomas Faed's Sir Walter Scott and his Literary Friends at Abbotsford (1850). Faed may have worked from a copy of the signed replica owned by the Earl of Minto.
Corson B.CAW.1
Click on the thumbnail to see a photogravure of Gordon's unfinished portrait of Scott

Follow the links below for a selection of images from Edinburgh University Library's Corson Collection:


  • Caw, James L. The Scott Gallery: A Series of One Hundred and Forty-Six Photogravures, Together with Descriptive Letterpress (Edinburgh; London: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1903)
  • Russell, Francis. Portraits of Sir Walter Scott: A Study of Romantic Portraiture (London: The Author, 1987)

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Last updated: 13-Jan-2009
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