Scots masterpieces on show as palace marks 250 years of collecting

Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie at the exhibition. Picture: PA
Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie at the exhibition. Picture: PA
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Scottish masterpieces acquired by monarchs in the past 250 years have gone on show at Buckingham Palace.

The new exhibition in the Queen’s Gallery features more than 80 works from some of Scotland’s most celebrated artists, including the Glasgow Boys, Allan Ramsay and Sir David Wilkie.

Pieces from the Royal Collection span the 18th and 19th centuries and subjects such as Spanish street scenes and romantic Highland views. It also includes the first known image of Queen Victoria as reigning monarch, created four months after her accession to the throne aged 18.

The oil sketch by Wilkie is a study for his painting The First Council of Queen Victoria, 1838, which initially found favour with the monarch. But she later disliked it, describing it as “one of the worst pictures I have ever seen, both as to painting and likeness”.

Other works in the exhibition were more to her liking, especially those by her favourite Scottish artist John Philip, whose paintings she and Prince Albert bought each other as gifts.

Wilkie was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary in 1830, serving under William IV and Victoria. He followed in the footsteps of Ramsay, who was the first Scot to be appointed to the post and was commissioned to paint George III’s State Portrait fin 1760.