About this artwork

Harvey conveyed the excitement, humour and enjoyment of one of Scotland's national sports. The curlers are playing outside on a frozen lake, the wintry landscape illuminated by the late afternoon sun, providing a seasonal backdrop for the theatrical composition. The players themselves reflect the whole spectrum of rural society. The painting proved to be immensely popular when it was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1835 and Harvey made a number of copies to meet demand. An engraving of the picture was made in 1838 by William Howison and published by the influential art dealer, Alexander Hill.

Sir George Harvey

Sir George Harvey

Harvey is best known for his Scottish history painting and contemporary narrative scenes. Many of his subjects, designed to invite an emotional response, appear rather sentimental to modern viewers but were extremely popular when first exhibited. Harvey was a student of Sir William Allan's at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh. He followed Allan's example in his skilled draughtsmanship and detailed preparatory studies for his major compositions. His work also reflects Wilkie's influence. Harvey was a founder member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1826 and went on to become its president in 1864. He was knighted three years later.