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Sir George Harvey, 1806 - 1876. Artist (In his studio)

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Sir George Harvey, 1806 - 1876. Artist (In his studio) 1865

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This is one of a series of portraits by John Ballantyne showing his fellow artists at work. The painter depicted here is Sir George Harvey, President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1864 until his death. Harvey was best known for his historical scenes, particularly those depicting events from the religious struggles of the Covenanters in seventeenth-century Scotland. Here, the tartan, sword and bible on the floor suggest Harvey is working on just such a picture whilst in the background his famous painting 'The Covenanters' Communion' (Scottish National Gallery) rests on the floor behind him.

Glossary Open


People who sought to uphold the Presbyterian faith in Scotland in the 17th century. They adhered to a series of covenants, notably the National Covenant of 1638 which was signed in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh in opposition to Charles I’s attempts to introduce an English-style prayer book. The Covenanters’ opposition to bishops and royal control over the church brought them into conflict with the government and hundreds of Covenanters were executed.

Royal Scottish Academy

The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) was formed in Edinburgh in 1826 by Scottish artists who felt alienated by what they perceived as the elitism of the Royal Institution and its management of contemporary art exhibitions. In 1835, the RSA secured exhibition rights in the Royal Institution building, which had been erected on The Mound by the Board of Manufactures in 1826. The RSA and the Board frequently argued over responsibilities for advanced art education. From 1859, the RSA shared the premises of the new National Gallery of Scotland under the Board’s custody. In 1910, after transferring most of its art collections to the Gallery, the RSA gained exclusive tenancy of the former Royal Institution building, where it continues to hold large-scale annual exhibitions.

Covenanters, Royal Scottish Academy


  • Acc. No. PG 277
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 71.40 x 92.00 cm (framed: 88.00 x 108.50 x 6.00 cm)
  • Credit Presented by William Ford 1889