About this artwork

This is one of two full-length oil studies that Charles Lees completed in preparation for his iconic sporting painting, ‘The Golfers’. It shows Allan Robertson, a St Andrews golf ball maker. In the final painting Robertson appears in the same pose as he is shown here beside the Earl of Leven and Melville. Together they lean towards each other, perhaps conjecturing which way the match will go, yet they keep their eyes firmly fixed on the game. In 1846 Lees exhibited oil sketches of nine of the figures that appear in ‘The Golfers’ at the Royal Scottish Academy. It is most likely that this was one of them. Completed in 1847, the final painting features over fifty individual portraits.

  • title: Allan Robertson, fl. 1847. Golf ball maker
  • accession number: PG 2020
  • artist: Charles LeesScottish (1800 - 1880)
  • depicted: Allan Robertson
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Sport and leisure
  • materials: Oil on paper
  • date created: About 1847
  • measurements: 50.50 x 31.70 cm (framed: 66.99 x 53.97 cm)
  • credit line: Provenance untraced
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Charles Lees

Charles Lees

Charles Lees was born in Cupar, Fife. He trained as a painter in Edinburgh with the eminent portraitist, Sir Henry Raeburn. After six months in Rome he returned to Edinburgh where he established himself as a portrait painter. Lees was elected a Royal Scottish Academician in 1830. From the 1840s Lees built himself a reputation as a specialist in depicting sporting subjects; 'The Golfers' was his first major sporting picture.