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Sir William Erskine of Torrie and his family

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Sir William Erskine of Torrie and his family 1788


  • Scottish Art
After returning from his prolonged study trip to Italy, David Allan specialised in painting conversation pieces for Scottish aristocratic families. These were informal group portraits, often in an outdoor setting, and showed the sitters occupied in leisure activities. In this scene, Sir William's sons, William, James and John, present the trophies of a hunt – a fox's mask and tail – to their mother, Lady Frances, and their sisters, Frances, Henrietta, Elizabeth and Magdalene.

Glossary Open

Conversation piece

A portrait group, usually comprising several figures from the same family or group of friends engaged in everyday pursuits. This form of painting was particularly popular in 18th century England.

Conversation piece


  • Acc. No. PGL 333
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 153.70 x 240.00 cm
  • Credit Long loan in