Sir Walter Scott and the New Science of Reading, a discussion forum
Royal Society of Edinburgh
June 16, 6 pm
Dr Viccy Coltman, U of Edinburgh
portraiture in image and text
Scott’s attitude toward material culture, the visual arts, based on his copious correspondence was very negative. Basically he was an iconophobe.
Scott saw illustration of his works as lowering the work to meet the popular culture demands of the middle class.
But there are significant pictorial aspects of Scott’s work. Such as the different senses used to describe a face in the last discussion.
Fergus Mac-Ivor and Waverly in their Highland dress… reference to Raeburn
Scott sat for Raeburn 13 different times, for paintings
2 interrelated aspects of my ongoing work
chapter of a book I am writing
“physiognomy of Romanticism” real and rhetorical practices of portraiture
look at an ekphrastic portrait in The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) chapter 26
staring picture of John Girder himself ornamented this dormitory, painted by a starving Frenchman…. utterly inconsistent with the dogged gravity of the original, that it was impossible to look at it without laughing…in presuming to hang it up in his bedchamber, had exceeded his privilege as the richest man of the village… respect for the memory of my deceased friend… has obliged me to treat this matter at some length; but I spare the reader his prolix through curious observations, as well upon the character of the French school as upon the state of painting in Scotland at the beginning of the 18th century
fictional portrait into the 1819 novel (first description of Scots painting–their unique styles–was 1817)
Scott was one of the 2 most painted private figures of the 18th C. (Wellington was the other.)
Russell’s catalog of Scott has 200+ busts, portraits, etc.
kaleidoscope of views from 5 yo Scott to after his death…
1871 exhibition had 171 images
2 Sir Walters, courtly baron surrounded by grandeur, others earthy Scott in the Scottish landscape
Northcote’s work 1828 capitalized on the fact that Scott has been painted so often
Sir Walter Scott being painted by James Northcote
Northcote in his Titian cap, before an enormous rectangular canvas—extends beyond the right hand frame
Scott with his back to the window, painted on the canvas of the portrait of Northcote is a full-frontal
original image has been lost
we have a smaller copy of it (38×49)
another presence in the canvas, the person who commissioned the image
Northcote includes his own portrait in the doubled portraiture of Scott
“I thought it a great honor to be on the same canvas with Sir Walter.”
double portrait of celebrity and artist’s self-portrait