About this artwork

David Allan specialised in small-scale group portraits, called 'conversation pieces', which showed people, usually families, in contemporary and informal settings. Here, his subject is three friends, depicted as 'connoisseurs', that is, as knowledgeable and appreciative of the fine arts. John Caw holds up an engraving after a painting by Raphael of St John the Baptist, which his companions discuss. The small portrait of the wall behind them may be an absent, or even a deceased, friend.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    David AllanScottish (1744 - 1796)
  • title:
    The Connoisseurs: John Caw (died 1784), John Bonar (1747 - 1807) and James Bruce
  • date created:
    1783
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    87.50 x 101.90 cm (framed: 106.50 x 117.60 x 9.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1963
  • accession number:
    NG 2260
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
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David Allan

David Allan