David Allan

Highland Wedding at Blair Atholl (1780)

About this artwork

This was painted after Allan's return from Italy, and was the first of his many Scottish genre subjects. Niel Gow, the celebrated violin player, composer and collector of music, takes his place amongst the musicians; Gow's services were retained by the Duke of Atholl, for a fee of £5 a year. The tartan worn in this picture was done so illegally, for highland dress had been proscribed after the Jacobite rising of 1745 in an Act not repealed until 1782.

David Allan

David Allan

Allan was born in Alloa, on the Firth of Forth, and attended the Foulis Academy in Glasgow for seven years. In 1767 he moved to Rome, where he lived for ten years; this was the most successful period of his life. In Rome Allan painted ambitious historical pictures, portraits, caricatures and genre scenes. On returning to London in 1777, he spent two years trying to establish himself. Unsuccessful and ill, he returned to Scotland where he specialised in painting family groups. He also produced book illustrations and was appointed master of the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh.