About this artwork

Runciman's pen and ink drawings are among the finest early Scottish Romantic landscapes. This dramatic sketch shows Dunvegan Castle lit up by a flash of lightning during a thunderstorm. Runciman chose a viewpoint from far below the castle rock to heighten the theatrical effect of the scene. The Castle is situated on the Isle of Skye and has been the family home of the chiefs of MacLeod of Dunvegan and Harris since 1270. This drawing dates from before the substantial re-modelling of Dunvegan, which took place in the 1840s, when ornamental turrets and modern battlements were added and the whole building altered to satisfy demands for the fashionable 'Baronial' style in Scotland.

  • title: Dunvegan Castle, Skye
  • accession number: D 81
  • artist: Alexander RuncimanScottish (1736 - 1785)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Castles
  • date created: 1770
  • measurements: Arched top: 13.00 x 13.80 cm
  • credit line: David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy transferred 1910

Alexander Runciman

Alexander Runciman

Alexander Runciman was born in Edinburgh and received the first part of his artistic training at the Foulis Academy in Glasgow. He later studied in Italy with his younger brother John, an artist of great promise who died of consumption whilst abroad. Alexander worked largely as a painter of romantic landscapes and historical scenes, and was responsible for several mural paintings in and around Edinburgh. He was an important figure in the education of artists, becoming master of the Trustees' Academy, the forerunner of the Edinburgh School of Art.