About this artwork

Thomas Duncan was born at Kinclaven and educated at Perth Academy, together with lifelong friend David Octavius Hill. In 1827 Duncan enrolled at the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh, where he studied under William Allan. The following year he exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) and, due to the success of his work, was elected a full member in 1829. Duncan established a significant portrait studio, but he is better known for his narrative works inspired by Scottish history and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. From 1838 until his untimely death in 1845 Duncan worked as a professor at the Trustees’ Academy. This self-portrait was a highlight of the RSA’s annual exhibition of 1845. By the exhibition opening that February, he was terminally ill. The onset of blindness was witnessed with extreme distress by his close friend Hill. When Duncan succumbed to a brain tumour aged thirty-seven, he was at the zenith of his career as a history and portrait painter.

  • title:
    Self-portrait
  • accession number:
    NG 182
  • artist:
  • depicted:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    Dated 1844
  • measurements:
    128.70 x 102.00 cm (framed: 157.70 x 131.80 x 12.00 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased and presented by fifty Scottish artists to the RSA 1845; transferred and presented 1910
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Thomas Duncan

Thomas Duncan