About this artwork

Exceptionally among illustrators of Sir Walter Scott’s great Edinburgh novel The Heart of Midlothian (1818), Drummond focused on its most violent episode – the mob lynching of the hated commander of the City Guard, Captain John Porteous, on a dyer’s pole in 1736. Drummond’s dramatically lit ‘stage set’ of the Castle and the Grassmarket tenements was based on his own evocative drawings of Old Town architecture in the 1840s and 1850s. Following its first stage adaptation in 1820, with scenery by Alexander Nasmyth, The Heart of Midlothian was regularly revived at Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal into the 1850s. This popularity virtually guaranteed the purchase of Drummond’s masterpiece for the foundation collection of the new National Gallery of Scotland in 1856.

James Drummond

James Drummond