About this artwork

This painting is significant as one of the only large Scottish history paintings to commemorate a contemporary religious event. It shows a minister and his family leaving the church house (manse) following the Disruption of 1843, when 450 ministers left their parishes over disputes about the sovereignty of the Church of Scotland. They went on to form the Free Church of Scotland. Harvey put aside the controversial political aspect of the Disruption, and focused on the human problems as the parishioners bid farewell to their much-loved minister and his family. The pose of the minister, hat in hand, reveals his personal loss, despite his belief that his actions are for the greater good. The painting is rarely on display due to bad bitumen damage caused by Harvey’s experiments with varnish.

Sir George Harvey

Sir George Harvey