This was a deeply unhappy time for Mary, who soon realised the mistake she had made in marrying Bothwell. Moreover, a group of protestant nobles, known as the Confederate Lords, had openly rebelled against her. They resented Bothwell for becoming too powerful too quickly and they judged Mary for siding with him. Despite their own role in Darnley’s assassination, the Lords now accused Mary of involvement in the murder.
After occupying Edinburgh, the Lords’ large army met Mary’s dwindling troops at Carberry Hill. No fighting took place as Mary surrendered in return for honourable treatment and Bothwell’s safety. The offer was accepted and on 15 June 1567 Mary was taken back to Edinburgh, where she was met with a hostile and humiliating reception.
This wash drawing is one of David Allan’s sketches for a series of large-scale history paintings, most of which were never executed. Mistakenly inscribed ‘Queen Mary surrenders at Pinkie’, this drawing shows Mary’s return to Edinburgh after her surrender at Carberry Hill. Essentially a prisoner of the Confederate Lords, she was taken to the Provost’s residence on High Street. An angry and excited mob eagerly awaited her arrival, shouting abuse and accusing her of murder. The rebel Lords’ propaganda had clearly worked. To the left, their banner shows an image of the young Prince James and his murdered father, Lord Darnley. The writing: ‘Judge and revenge my cause, O Lord’, implied that the Lords were acting in the prince’s interest by avenging Darnley’s death.
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.