View and zoom into this image on our new collection website
Alexander Carse, about 1770 - 1843. Artist (Self-portrait) (Probably Alexander Carse with his mother and sister)

Reference URL

Alexander Carse, about 1770 - 1843. Artist (Self-portrait) (Probably Alexander Carse with his mother and sister) About 1795


  • Scottish Art
This small interior scene is believed to depict the artist, Alexander Carse, with his mother and sister. Gathered around a table, the two siblings listen while their mother reads from the large family bible. Around them, everything refers to Carse’s profession – from the paintings stacked against the mantelpiece to the plaster model on the cabinet and the wooden palette on the wall. During his time as a student at the Trustees’ Academy, Carse studied prints after Dutch art, and the influence of Dutch still lifes and genre paintings is evident. Each member of the family is depicted with realism and quiet humour. The small size of the painting only adds to the intimacy of the scene.

Glossary Open


A French term that denotes different types of paintings, such as landscape, portrait or still life. The phrase ‘genre painting’ is used specifically to describe works depicting everyday scenes.


A hand-held board on which a painter lays out and mixes the colours he or she is using. By extension it is used to describe the range of colours employed by an artist.

Still life

A painting, drawing or photograph depicting inanimate objects.

Trustees' Academy

The Trustees’ Academy was founded in Edinburgh in 1760 by the Board of Trustees for the Improvement of Fisheries and Manufactures in Scotland. This was the earliest publicly funded art school in Britain, but during the early years it was essentially an elementary drawing school dedicated to applied design. The students included practical craftsmen as well as fine artists. The school gradually developed more facilities for advanced fine art education, including a plaster cast collection. In 1826, it relocated to a new building on The Mound, which was erected by the Board. The Trustees’ Academy was reformed in 1858, using the well established government Schools of Design in London as its model, and was the direct ancestor of Edinburgh College of Art, established in 1907.

Genres, Palette , Still life, Trustees' Academy


  • Acc. No. PG 1841
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 21.70 x 27.50 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1957