John Campbell of the Bank, about 1703-1777. Banker and businessman

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John Campbell of the Bank, about 1703-1777. Banker and businessman 1749
  • Scottish Art
In both his actions and in his painted image, John Campbell illustrates the difficulty of assigning clear-cut loyalties during a time of civil unrest and political uncertainty. A grandson of the 1st Earl of Breadalbane, Campbell was the cashier of the Royal Bank of Scotland, an enterprise considered to be the ‘government’s bank’. He was, therefore, a pillar of Scotland’s loyalist establishment. However, when the Jacobites occupied Edinburgh in 1745, he let them exchange banknotes for over £6,000 in coin, so helping them prepare for their descent into England. In his portrait Campbell wears a tartan kilt and jacket, a revealing choice just two years after parliament had banned the wearing of Highland dress in Scotland. With sword, pistols and dirk, the banker presents himself as a warrior chieftain in the tradition of his ancestors.

Glossary Open


Jacobitism was a movement to restore the descendants of the Stuart King James VII and II to the British throne. The first claimant, Prince James Francis Edward (known as 'the Old Pretender') was exiled first in France, then Italy, from where he planned unsuccessful attempts to claim the throne. His son Prince Charles Edward (known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' or 'the Young Pretender') famously invaded Britain in 1745, but after some military successes was finally defeated at Culloden in 1746.



  • Acc. No. PGL 2311
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 118.00 x 144.00 cm
  • Credit Long loan in (Royal Bank of Scotland Group)