About this artwork

Runciman substituted a stormy shore for the wild heath of Shakespeare's drama in his depiction of the frenzied Lear and his loyal supporters. The raging storm is a powerful metaphor for the king's violent feelings as he loses his mind. Runciman's vivid interpretation of the subject illustrates his creative ingenuity, while his style and technique partially emulate the work of Rubens. His fascination with Shakespeare was probably stimulated by contemporary productions in Edinburgh. King Lear was performed at the Canongate Theatre, the first permanent theatre in Scotland, in 1764 and 1765.

  • title:
    King Lear in the Storm
  • accession number:
    NG 570
  • artist:
  • depicted:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Oil on panel
  • date created:
    1767
  • measurements:
    44.80 x 61.00 cm (framed: 66.60 x 84.40 x 11.50 cm)
  • credit line:
    Bequest of David Laing 1879
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

John Runciman

John Runciman