About this artwork

The philosopher Sir William Hamilton was briefly Professor of Civil History at the University of Edinburgh before concentrating on researching and writing. Hamilton was heavily influenced by German philosophy, especially the work of Immanuel Kant. He wrote influential articles for the pro-Whig Edinburgh Review magazine, which were later published as ‘Discussions in Philosophy, Literature and Education’. His famous book, ‘Lectures on Philosophy and Logic’, confirmed his position as a leading intellectual. John Ballantyne’s portrait shows a pensive-looking Hamilton holding his place in a book with one of his fingers, a standard pose for depicting a learned sitter.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Professor Sir William Hamilton, 1788 - 1856. Metaphysician
  • date created:
    1850
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    91.10 x 71.20 cm (framed: 110.00 x 88.00 x 6.50 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Given by the Royal Scottish Academy 1910
  • accession number:
    PG 717
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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John Ballantyne

John Ballantyne