About this artwork

This drawing by David Wilkie shows the rediscovery of the Scottish regalia, also known as the ‘Honours of Scotland’, in 1818. Having been smuggled out of Edinburgh Castle in politically turbulent times, the Scottish Crown, Sceptre and Sword of State were returned following the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707. They were locked away in the Crown Room, but over the years their location was forgotten and it was rumoured that they had been taken to England. With the support of the Prince Regent, on 4 February 1818, Sir Walter Scott and a group of Officers of State forced open two sealed doors and a great oak chest, in which they found the regalia wrapped in linen and in perfect condition. Since then, they have been on permanent display in Edinburgh Castle.

Sir David Wilkie

Sir David Wilkie

Wilkie achieved international recognition for his highly original paintings of events and episodes from contemporary life. His skills as a narrator were evident in the facial expressions and poses of his characters, and in the informative detail he included. He was born in Fife, the son of a rural minister and began his formal artistic training at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh when he was fifteen. He then moved to London in 1805 and became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1811. He was appointed Painter to the King in 1830 and knighted in 1836.