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John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, 1740 - 1804. Bibliophile

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John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, 1740 - 1804. Bibliophile 1761

Not on display

The Duke of Roxburghe’s fame stems from his collection of books, which, when sold over forty-five days in 1812, reached more than £23,000. The Roxburghe Club of fine book collectors was formed at this time and named in his memory. Roxburghe shared an interest in books with King George III and was favoured with impressive titles such as a knighthood of the Thistle and the Order of the Garter. Like many aristocrats and gentry figures, Roxburghe travelled to Italy in 1760 to partake in the Grand Tour. In line with fashion, he was painted by the Italian painter Pompeo Batoni whilst in Rome in 1762 (despite the painting being dated 1761). Batoni’s ability to depict his sitter’s status through their dress is highlighted in Roxburghe’s lavish peer’s robes.

Glossary Open

Grand Tour

An educational tour of Europe, especially through France and Italy taken by (particularly British) aristocratic youth from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Such tours were seen as essential for a full understanding of classical civilisation. They were also important opportunities for collecting art and antiquities.

Grand Tour


  • Acc. No. PG 2940
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 248.00 x 172.50 cm (framed: 274.32 x 200.66 x 10.16 cm)
  • Credit Accepted by the Secretary of State for Scotland in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery