After the Battle: A Scene in Covenanting Times

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After the Battle: A Scene in Covenanting Times Dated 1870
  • Scottish Art
In 1869 Herdman received a major commission from The Royal Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland to create a painting of his choice that would be ‘capable of furnishing a powerful and effective engraving’. The engraving by Francis Holl was subsequently issued to the society’s subscribers. The subject Herdman chose was not based on any known literary source. His description of the wounded covenanting soldier being tended by a sympathetic family was intended to be fully self-explanatory. Herdman captured the anguish and concern for the soldier in each of the figures’ faces. He skilfully integrated the individuality of each figure into a cohesive monumental scene, which honours the plight of the lowly soldier on a heroic scale.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


People who sought to uphold the Presbyterian faith in Scotland in the 17th century. They adhered to a series of covenants, notably the National Covenant of 1638 which was signed in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh in opposition to Charles I’s attempts to introduce an English-style prayer book. The Covenanters’ opposition to bishops and royal control over the church brought them into conflict with the government and hundreds of Covenanters were executed.


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.

Commission, Covenanters, Engraving


  • Acc. No. NG 599
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 115.80 x 173.00 cm (framed: 156.00 x 214.00 x 17.50 cm)
  • Credit Commissioned by RAPFAS 1870; transferred 1897