John Brown, 1749 - 1787. Artist (With Alexander Runciman, 1736 - 1785. Artist - self portrait)
© The Trustees of the National Museums of Scotland

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John Brown, 1749 - 1787. Artist (With Alexander Runciman, 1736 - 1785. Artist - self portrait) 1784
  • Scottish Art
In this unusual double portrait of two artist friends, Runciman (in the red cap) depicts himself painting, palette and brushes in one hand, and a porte-crayon in the other. Both he and Brown appear to be looking at us, but they are really scrutinizing Runciman's canvas. The subject, which, of course, we cannot see, is presumably taken from Shakespeare's late play, The Tempest, as this is the book Brown is holding. Brown seems to be finding faults with the picture and Runciman does not look especially pleased to hear his advice.

Glossary Open

Palette

A hand-held board on which a painter lays out and mixes the colours he or she is using. By extension it is used to describe the range of colours employed by an artist.

Porte crayon

An instrument made of wood or metal, used to hold a drawing tool such as crayon, pastel or chalk.

Palette , Porte crayon

Details

  • Acc. No. PG 3545
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 63.60 x 76.50 cm (framed: 76.50 x 89.00 x 7.00 cm)
  • Credit David Laing bequest to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Gifted in 2009