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Rent-day in the Wilderness 1868


  • Scottish Art
The animals and landscape play as important a role as the figures in this unusual history painting. It was commissioned by the distinguished geologist Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, President of the Royal Geographical Society. He modelled for the figure of his great-grandfather Colonel Donald Murchison, the rent collector who wears a breastplate under his jacket. Colonel Murchison was defying the law on behalf of the Jacobite Earl of Seaforth, exiled in Paris after the defeat of the Old Pretender's army at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. The Earl's tenants keep hidden from the group of redcoats across the loch.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


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.

Royal Geographical Society

The Geographical Society of London was founded in 1830 as an institution to promote the advancement of geographical science. The Society’s purpose remains the same today as when it was first founded. The history of the Society was closely allied for many of its earlier years with colonial exploration in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Polar Regions, and central Asia especially. It is synonymous with such famous names as Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt and Hillary.

Commission, Jacobite, Royal Geographical Society


  • Acc. No. NG 586
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 122.00 x 265.00 cm (framed: 156.21 x 300.36 x 10.16 cm)
  • Credit Bequest of Sir Roderick Murchison 1871