Sir William Allan

James Hogg, 1770 - 1835. Poet; 'The Ettrick Shepherd' (The Ettrick Shepherd's House Heating or The Celebration of his Birthday) (1823 or 1825)

About this artwork

This scene shows a group of friends celebrating the birthday of James Hogg, the writer nicknamed 'the Ettrick Shepherd'. The gathering includes the artistic and literary elite of Scottish society. John Wilson (Christopher North), the author and moral philosoher, raises a toast to Hogg, who is swaying back on his chair at the left of the group. Next to Hogg, leaning on the table, is Sir Walter Scott. The setting is Hogg's house at Eltrive, and includes some beautifully observed details of a domestic interior in the early nineteenth century.

Sir William Allan

Sir William Allan

Born in Edinburgh, Allan was apprenticed to a coach painter before studying at the Trustees' Academy in the city from 1799; David Wilkie was a fellow student and became a lifelong friend. Allan went to London in 1803 to continue his studies, possibly at the Royal Academy. In 1805 he went to Russia, where he was based until 1814, travelling widely in the region. On his return, he settled in Edinburgh where he painted scenes inspired by his travels as well as subjects from Scottish history and Sir Walter Scott's novels. He was appointed Master of the Trustees' Academy in 1826, elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1838 and became the Queen's Limner for Scotland in 1841, the year he was knighted.