About this artwork

This ink drawing is one of two views of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery by Thomas Crawford Hamilton. They were made in 1890, the year after the gallery was opened to the public. The construction of a purpose-built portrait gallery was made possible after the owner of ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper, John Ritchie Findlay, donated money to the project. The result was a magnificent neo-gothic building that – both on the inside and outside – celebrates famous Scots and Scottish achievement. This drawing shows the west side of the main hall and some of its surrounding arches. Three well-dressed visitors make for the staircase that leads up to the first floor. By 1890, William Hole had not yet been commissioned to decorate the main hall and so his famous frieze does not appear in this image.

Thomas Crawford Hamilton

Thomas Crawford Hamilton

Thomas Crawford Hamilton exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy from 1879 until 1889, giving his address as Glasgow. He worked in a variety of media including oil, pencil and watercolour and painted landscapes, important historical buildings and religious subjects. Hamilton left behind some fine drawings of the exterior and interior of the newly-opened Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Among his works there are also some interesting portraits.