SCOTT, Sir WALTER (1771-1832, poet, novelist, historian and biographer)
PORTRAIT BY COLVIN SMITH R.S.A. (1795-1875), oil on canvas, half length, 29 x 24 in (73.7 x 61 cm).
REFERENCE: Francis Russell, Portraits of Sir Walter Scott, 1987. Colvin Smith is especially well known for his portraits of Scott, the first of which was painted in 1828 for Lord-Chief-Commissioner William Adam. This was thought so successful that several of Scott's friends had replicas painted for them, some 20 in all. Scott gave separate sittings for seven of them ('For seven of these Sir Walter gave me one sitting each'). The liveliness of the present portrait would suggest that it was one of those that benefited from such a sitting.
Francis Russell states that Colvin Smith's portrait of Scott is his best-known work and that the number of replicas 'is the most striking confirmation of its merits.' Sir Thomas Lawrence said 'that it is the most like portrait' he had ever seen of Scott. This actual painting is illustrated in Brian Stewart and Mervyn Cutten, Dictionary of Portrait Painters in Britain up to 1920, 1997. No version of this portrait is in the National Portrait Gallery.