Gavin Hamilton, 1723 - 1798. Artist

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Gavin Hamilton, 1723 - 1798. Artist 1777
  • Scottish Art
Previously thought to be a self-portrait of Gavin Hamilton, this drawing has since been identified as a work by Ozias Humphry of 1777. Hamilton spent most of his life in Rome where he worked as an artist, his style influenced by the antiquities that surrounded him. In addition to painting, he dealt in classical statuary, much of which he excavated himself. Between 1758 and 1777 he worked on a grand scheme of six large history paintings, their subjects inspired by Homer's Iliad, two of which are now in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. Through his own art, his antiques dealing and his assistance to young artists, Hamilton became a pivotal figure in the artistic life of Rome in the second half of the 18th century, and helped establish a taste for Neoclassicism in Europe.

Glossary Open


A general term for the civilisations of Ancient Greece and Rome. Also used as a general term to describe something very old.

History painting

Paintings in which the subject is taken from biblical, classical or other mythological histories.


Homer is the ancient Greek epic poet who is thought to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey around 850 BC. Although very little is known about him, he is believed to have been from Ionia, on the coast of present-day Turkey, and is said to have been blind.


The revival of ancient Greek and Roman models of art and architecture, with particular importance put on simplicity and discipline. Such ideals have been revived at various points in history and contrast with more decadent and dynamic styles such as the Baroque.

Antiquity, History painting, Homer, Neo-classicism


  • Acc. No. PG 198
  • Medium Pencil on paper
  • Size 53.10 x 43.10 cm
  • Credit Presented by the Earl of Stair 1887