Rev. Alexander Carlyle, 1722 - 1805. Divine and pamphleteer
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Rev. Alexander Carlyle, 1722 - 1805. Divine and pamphleteer 1796

On Display PORTRAIT GALLERY

  • Scottish Art
Carlyle was a quintessential figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. For over fifty years he was the minister of Inveresk, five miles south-east of Edinburgh, but, in addition to his pastoral duties, he was an active participant in the intellectual life of the capital. He counted David Hume and Adam Smith as friends and was an early member of the city's debating club, the Select Society. His active promotion of liberal cultural values caused conflict with less moderate members of the Church of Scotland. Carlyle had a commanding physical presence, tall and handsome. Sir Walter Scott called him 'the grandest demigod I ever saw'. His autobiography, published long after his death, is considered one of the best memoirs of the period.

Glossary Open

Enlightenment

A philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasised the use of reason to question established beliefs and traditions. Associated ideas included a greater sense of individualism, a belief in human progress and an equation of God with the laws of nature.

Enlightenment

Details

  • Acc. No. PG 2724
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 73.70 x 61.00 cm (framed: 86.00 x 74.00 x 6.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1987