About this artwork

Born in Ireland of English settlers, Wade was a professional soldier. In 1724 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of North Britain and sent to the Highlands. He concluded that the main obstacle to 'civilising' the area was the lack of good communications. During the next eleven years, Wade supervised the building of over 250 miles of roads and forty bridges. This painting shows Wade standing before his most spectacular feat of construction, the Corrieyairack Pass (completed 1731) on the road from Fort Augustus to Dalwhinnie and Ruthven. Ironically, the Jacobite armies found these roads very convenient; in 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie's army used the Corrieyairack pass on its way south.

Johan van Diest

Johan van Diest

John van Diest came from a dynasty of Dutch painters, originally from The Hague. His grandfather, Willem van Diest was a marine painter who settled in England with his son, Adriaen van Diest, the landscape painter, in 1672. Born in England, John van Diest may have been a pupil of Kneller. He worked as a copyist and painted portraits as well as landscapes and harbour scenes.