James Drummond, 1816 - 1877. History painter; curator of the Scottish National Gallery

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James Drummond, 1816 - 1877. History painter; curator of the Scottish National Gallery 1843 - 1847
  • Scottish Art
James Drummond was an accomplished artist and antiquarian, who specialised in history paintings. He studied at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh and was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1852. Between 1848 and 1859 Drummond produced a series of pencil and wash drawings of closes, streets and buildings in Edinburgh. They were later published as lithographs in a folio volume entitled ‘Old Edinburgh’. In 1868 Drummond became curator of the Scottish National Gallery, a position he held until his death in 1877. An admirer of the new medium of photography, he was a member of the Photographic Society of Scotland and owned two albums of Hill and Adamson’s calotypes.

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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.


The first effective version of photography, using drawing or writing paper for both the negative and the positive. The paper was sensitised with potassium iodide and silver nitrate, exposed and developed in gallic acid and silver nitrate.

History painting

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


A printmaking technique using a stone or zinc plate to which the image is applied with a greasy material. After wetting the plate, greasy ink is applied. The ink sticks only to the drawn image and not the wet surface, thus creating a reproduction when applied to paper.

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.

Trustees' Academy

The Trustees’ Academy was founded in Edinburgh in 1760 by the Board of Trustees for the Improvement of Fisheries and Manufactures in Scotland. This was the earliest publicly funded art school in Britain, but during the early years it was essentially an elementary drawing school dedicated to applied design. The students included practical craftsmen as well as fine artists. The school gradually developed more facilities for advanced fine art education, including a plaster cast collection. In 1826, it relocated to a new building on The Mound, which was erected by the Board. The Trustees’ Academy was reformed in 1858, using the well established government Schools of Design in London as its model, and was the direct ancestor of Edinburgh College of Art, established in 1907.

Antiquarian, Calotype, History painting, Lithograph, Royal Scottish Academy, Trustees' Academy


  • Acc. No. PGP HA 375
  • Medium Calotype print
  • Size 21.00 x 15.30 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown