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The Letter of Introduction

Reference URL

The Letter of Introduction 1813

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This subject is based on Wilkie's own experience as a young artist arriving in London with, as he felt, useless letters of introduction to potential patrons. He captures perfectly the awkward pose of a young man uncomfortable in formal clothes being sniffed at by the dog of the unfriendly older gentleman. Although dressed informally in dressing gown, slippers and turban the older man's expression, both calculating and suspicious, does nothing to ease the tension of the moment. The conspicuous presence of a Japanese jar may suggest he is a connoisseur.

Glossary Open


Somebody with an expert knowledge of one or more of the arts. By extension, they are often said to be of refined taste and qualified to pass critical judgement on such matters.


The support given to artists by an individual or organisation, usually through buying or funding their work.

Connoisseur, Patronage


  • Acc. No. NG 1890
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 61.00 x 50.20 cm (framed: 91.50 x 81.00 x 14.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1938