Alexander Runciman

Scottish (1736 - 1785)
Alexander Runciman John Brown, 1749 - 1787. Artist (With Alexander Runciman, 1736 - 1785. Artist - self portrait) 1784


Born 1736
Died 1785
Nationality Scottish
Birth place Edinburgh
Death place Edinburgh

Alexander Runciman was born in Edinburgh and received the first part of his artistic training at the Foulis Academy in Glasgow. He later studied in Italy with his younger brother John, an artist of great promise who died of consumption whilst abroad. Alexander worked largely as a painter of romantic landscapes and historical scenes, and was responsible for several mural paintings in and around Edinburgh. He was an important figure in the education of artists, becoming master of the Trustees' Academy, the forerunner of the Edinburgh School of Art.

Glossary terms

  • In 1765, the Scottish poet-historian James MacPherson published a collection of poems in English called 'The Works of Ossian'. MacPherson claimed that he had translated them from an original ancient manuscript that was written in Scots Gaelic. He stated that the manuscript was the work of the blind poet and warrior Ossian, son of Fingal, supposedly a third century Scottish king. The poems have long been regarded as one of Scotland’s most sensational and controversial literary productions. Debates over the authenticity of the poems persisted, but the controversy actually fuelled their popularity and appeal.