One of the artist's favourite pursuits, especially abroad, was exploring the contents of antique shops in search of the rare books, medals and china that he collected. This little picture is a reflection of his fascination with the old and the odd.
Acc. No.NG 1731
MediumOil on canvas
Size20.50 x 41.40 cm (framed: 37.00 x 58.30 x 8.00 cm)
CreditBequest of Alexander Fowler Roberts 1929
Sir William Fettes Douglas (Scottish, 1822 - 1891)
A self-taught painter, William Fettes Douglas worked as a bank clerk in Edinburgh for ten years. He was a keen antiquarian and collector, and his interests in those fields influenced his choice of subject-matter which sometimes included alchemy, astrology and magic. Enormously learned, he was appointed Director of the National Gallery of Scotland in 1877 and five years later, President of the Royal Scottish Academy.
Relating to the study or collection of antiques, particularly from the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. It is also used for a person engaged in this work.
Royal Scottish Academy
The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) was formed in Edinburgh in 1826 by Scottish artists who felt alienated by what they perceived as the elitism of the Royal Institution and its management of contemporary art exhibitions. In 1835, the RSA secured exhibition rights in the Royal Institution building, which had been erected on The Mound by the Board of Manufactures in 1826. The RSA and the Board frequently argued over responsibilities for advanced art education. From 1859, the RSA shared the premises of the new National Gallery of Scotland under the Board’s custody. In 1910, after transferring most of its art collections to the Gallery, the RSA gained exclusive tenancy of the former Royal Institution building, where it continues to hold large-scale annual exhibitions.