About this artwork

In this unusual double portrait of two artist friends, Runciman (in the red cap) depicts himself painting, palette and brushes in one hand, and a porte-crayon in the other. Both he and Brown appear to be looking at us, but they are really scrutinizing Runciman's canvas. The subject, which, of course, we cannot see, is presumably taken from Shakespeare's late play, The Tempest, as this is the book Brown is holding. Brown seems to be finding faults with the picture and Runciman does not look especially pleased to hear his advice.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    John Brown, 1749 - 1787. Artist (With Alexander Runciman, 1736 - 1785. Artist - self portrait)
  • date created:
    1784
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    63.60 x 76.50 cm (framed: 77.50 x 89.50 x 7.20 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    David Laing bequest to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Gifted in 2009
  • accession number:
    PG 3545
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Alexander Runciman

Alexander Runciman