About this artwork

Ayrshire-born John Galt was both a prolific writer and a determined businessman. In 1804 he moved to London and following a failed business venture decided to travel to the Mediterranean. Whilst away he struck up a friendship with Lord Byron. On his return he published accounts of his travels, biographies of Cardinal Wolsey and Benjamin West, tragedies and novels. His best known work, ‘The Annals of the Parish’ (1821) describing life in the west of Scotland, was pronounced by Sir Walter Scott to be “excellent”. In 1826 he went to Canada where he founded the town of Guelph, but again his enterprise failed and he returned to England. He had a stroke in 1832 and so returned to the family home at Greenock, where this portrait was almost certainly painted three years later.

  • title: John Galt, 1779 - 1839. Novelist
  • accession number: PG 1144
  • artist: Charles GreyScottish (about 1808 - 1892)
  • depicted: John Galt
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Scottish literature
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: Dated 1835
  • measurements: 74.90 x 62.50 cm (framed: 91.50 x 78.80 x 6.00 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1930
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Charles Grey

Charles Grey

Born in Greenock, Grey moved to Ireland when he was a young man. He made a living as a portrait painter in Dublin and was particularly popular amongst the Scottish communities living there. Lord Londonderry and Lord Powerscourt became his patrons and they entertained him in the Highlands. Grey exhibited in The Royal Hibernian Academy in 1837 alongside regularly showing at The Royal Scottish Academy. Towards the end of his career his subject matter was dominated with Scottish scenery.