Drawn to Paint

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James Drummond

The Porteous Mob (detail)
1855
The group from the drawing reappear almost unaltered in this painting, with the exception of the man looking over the door. The painted figures are actually the same size as those in the drawing. To illustrate the true identity of certain rioters, Drummond included more detail than he had in the drawing. The rioter assisting the lady from her chair wears fine leather shoes with a silk bow, revealing his gentlemanly status. His graceful, confident bow is is stark contrast to the humble stoop of the rough, tartan-clad chair bearer. In the drawing, Drummond had already anticipated how the interaction between this group would guide the viewer, but the additional details in the painting bring this into sharper focus.
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 111.80 x 152.50 cm
  • Location National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Did you know?

Notice how the lady has dropped her violet glove. Ladies would often use gloves as a flirtation 'code', and dropping one glove signalled that a lady was interested in a man. Men were only too accustomed to reading these veiled signals, and would gallantly retrieve it to reciprocate interest. This detail would not have been lost on the painting's contemporary viewers.