About this artwork

The artist John Phillip went to Spain in 1851 for the sake of his health. There he not only recovered, but found a new source of inspiration in Spanish life and art. This view of his London studio - one of a series Ballantyne made depicting his contemporaries at work - makes clear why the artist became known as 'Spanish Phillip'. Studio props of onions, pots and a melon are piled on a table and Phillip is preparing his palette in readiness for returning to the canvas on his easel - 'Spanish Contrabandistas' - a painting of 1858. On the back wall is his copy of part of Las Meninas by Velásquez

  • title: John Phillip, 1817 - 1867. Artist (In his studio)
  • accession number: PG 626
  • artist: John BallantyneScottish (1815 - 1897)
  • depicted: John Phillip
  • gallery: Paxton House
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Visual arts
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1864
  • measurements: 71.10 x 92.10 cm
  • credit line: Purchased 1903
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

John Ballantyne

John Ballantyne

Born in Kelso in the Scottish Borders, Ballantyne trained at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh under William Allan and Thomas Duncan, before studying in London, Paris and Rome. When he returned to Edinburgh in 1839, he established himself as a portrait and history painter. In 1848 he was appointed Headmaster of the Trustees' Academy. Ballantyne moved to London in 1863. He is best known for his seventeen canvases showing contemporary artists at work in their studios, painted in the early 1860s. Other paintings from this series are in the National Portrait Gallery, London and Aberdeen City Art Gallery.