Stirling Castle

George Frederick Buchanan

Oil on canvas

  • About the work
    Country: Belarus
    City: Minsk
    Place: British Embassy

    Buchanan’s view of Stirling Castle shows the impressive landmark rising in the distance, beyond a calm pastoral scene.

    Stirling Castle crowns the summit of a precipitous rock overlooking the town. It was probably built during the reign of Alexander I (1107–24), who died there. The castle became a residence and refuge for kings, a prison for noncompliant subjects and a storehouse for munitions. Of vital strategic importance, the fortress changed hands more often than any other Scottish castle. One of the decisive battles of Scottish history was fought for the possession of it: in 1314, on the field of Bannockburn, near Stirling, Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots overpowered the English under Edward II, when they attempted to recapture the besieged castle.

    The town of Stirling is today an important market town, with agricultural machinery, textiles and chemicals among its industries.

  • About the artist
    Landscapist George Frederick Buchanan was based in Edinburgh when he first exhibited at the Scottish Academy in 1841. He had moved to Glasgow by 1842 and to London in 1848, although his subjects remained mostly Scottish landscapes. He then exhibited at the Royal Academy, British Institution and Society of British Artists in London, and at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, and the Glasgow Institute. He moved regularly to different addresses, living in Mayfair, the City and Belsize Park, to escape creditors. In 1854 he appeared at the ‘Court of Relief of Insolvent Debtors’ in Lincoln’s Inn and in 1861 was imprisoned at the ‘Debtor’s Prison for London and Middlesex’, when his estate and effects were seized. He exhibited nothing after 1865.
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  • Details
    Stirling Castle
    Oil on canvas
    height: 56.00 cm, width: 77.00 cm
    Purchased from Appleby Bros, November 1974
    Sold through Bonhams, London, 'Important English and Continental Paintings' sale, on 27 June 1974 (Lot 61; with GAC 11687), for £500; with Appleby's; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in November 1974
    GAC number