About this artwork

David Scott was one of the most extraordinary figures of Scottish nineteenth-century art. A painter of serious historical subjects, he was championed by a close circle of family and friends who believed him to be a visionary genius. Steell’s bust, showing the artist in an ecstasy of creative inspiration, suggests he shared this view. The painter’s lips are slightly parted and his blank upturned gaze implies he is listening to an inner voice or muse; Scott was regarded as ‘a dreamer in an age of prose’. Scott was elected a full member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1834 and exhibited at the RSA between 1828 and 1880. He died prematurely, a disappointed man, his illustrative work receiving more appreciation than his vast biblical or mythological canvases.

Updated before 2020

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Sir John Steell

Sir John Steell