David Allan

Scene from the Life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary Led through the Streets of Edinburgh after the Battle of Carberry Hill

About this artwork

This wash drawing is one of David Allan’s sketches for a series of large-scale history paintings, most of which were never executed. Mistakenly inscribed ‘Queen Mary surrenders at Pinkie’, this drawing shows Mary’s return to Edinburgh after her surrender at Carberry Hill. Essentially a prisoner of the Confederate Lords, she was taken to the Provost’s residence on High Street. An angry and excited mob eagerly awaited her arrival, shouting abuse and accusing her of murder. The rebel Lords’ propaganda had clearly worked. To the left, their banner shows an image of the young Prince James and his murdered father, Lord Darnley. The writing: ‘Judge and revenge my cause, O Lord’, implied that the Lords were acting in the prince’s interest by avenging Darnley’s death.

  • title:
    Scene from the Life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary Led through the Streets of Edinburgh after the Battle of Carberry Hill
  • accession number:
    D 4592
  • artist:
    David AllanScottish (1744 - 1796)
  • depicted:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Pen, grey ink and brown wash over traces of grey and black chalk in a grey ink ruled border on paper
  • date created:
    About 1790
  • measurements:
    15.80 x 20.90 cm
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1951

David Allan

David Allan

Allan was born in Alloa, on the Firth of Forth, and attended the Foulis Academy in Glasgow for seven years. In 1767 he moved to Rome, where he lived for ten years; this was the most successful period of his life. In Rome, Allan painted ambitious historical pictures, portraits, caricatures and genre scenes. On returning to London in 1777, he spent two years trying to establish himself. Unsuccessful and ill, he returned to Scotland where he specialised in painting family groups. He also produced book illustrations and was appointed the master of the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh.