About this artwork

The famous Jacobite heroine Flora Macdonald lived on South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides. In 1746, on the neighbouring island of Benbecula she met Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, in flight after the disastrous defeat at Culloden. She helped the Prince escape by boat to Skye, disguising him as her maidservant. She was arrested for her part in assisting him and taken prisoner to London. After her release in 1747 she commissioned this portrait which she gave to the captain of the ship which had brought her south, in thanks for the kindness he had shown her.

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Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson

Wilson was the first British artist to paint classical landscapes, inspired by the work of Claude Lorraine and Gaspard Dughet. He was born in Wales, but moved to London to train with Thomas Wright, an established portrait painter. Wilson's early paintings were portraits, but he turned to landscape subjects during his seven years in Italy, where he was based in Rome. On his return to London in 1757 his paintings of idealised British and Italian scenes were well received. He was a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768 and although he died impoverished, influenced future generations of British landscape painters.