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The Black Dwarf

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The Black Dwarf 1831

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Sir Walter Scott’s tale ‘The Black Dwarf’ first appeared in ‘The Tales of My Landlord’ in 1816. Its central character was based upon the historical figure of David Ritchie. Hounded by mockery of his physical deformity, ‘Bow’d Davie’ took refuge in the Manor Valley in Peeblesshire where he built a curious cottage of stones and turf. After meeting Scott about 1818, Allan became his protégé, close friend and favoured illustrator. By 1827, when this picture was commissioned by the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, Allan had established himself as the leading narrative painter of Scottish history. His particular approach towards the presentation of Scotland’s past frequently paralleled the literary reconstructions of Scott.


  • Acc. No. NG 172
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 33.20 x 44.50 cm (framed: 61.10 x 72.70 x 8.50 cm)
  • Credit Commissioned by the RI in 1827; transferred 1859