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Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven, c 1580 - 1661. Soldier

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Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven, c 1580 - 1661. Soldier After 1638

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Leslie had a long and successful career as a soldier: attaining rank of a Dutch captain, a Swedish field marshal and, in Scotland, the title Earl of Leven. From 1605-7 he served under Sir Horace Vere in the Netherlands before transferring to the Swedish army in 1608. His career in Sweden was distinguished and he was knighted by King Gustavus Adolphus in 1626. In 1638 he returned to Scotland following the emerging crisis surrounding the signing of the Covenant. Taking command of the army of the Covenant, Leslie led the forces in the ensuing wars. He was around seventy when the third civil war broke out and tried to resign as commander-in-chief, but the Scottish parliament refused to accept it and he was required to maintain strategic command. He finally retired to his Fife estates in 1654.

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.



  • Acc. No. PG 1411
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 69.10 x 59.60 cm
  • Credit Bequeathed by the Marquess of Lothian 1941