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John Campbell of the Bank, about 1703-1777. Banker and businessman 1749

Not on display

  • 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.


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