The Battle of Bannockburn

Artist: Allan, William, Sir, RSA, PPRSA · 1782-1850Frame maker: Dott, Aitken · 1815-1892

Towards the end of his career William Allan embarked on a series of monumental military paintings including Commodore Nelson boarding the San Nicholas at the Battle of St Vincente, February 1, 1797 (1845, National Maritime Museum, London) and The Battle of Waterloo (1847, English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House).

In 1848 he commenced a third, this time of a notable Scottish victory The Battle of Bannockburn. Painted from meticulous research and studies made on the spot this tour de force remained unfinished at his death. It remained in the family and was included the following year in the Exhibition of the Historical and Other Works of the Late Sir William Allan RA, curated by his long-time colleague, D O Hill RSA and presented in Alexander Hill’s Gallery in Princes Street. (label text by Dr Joanna Soden HRSA for Ages of Wonder Exhibition, 2017)

In 1858 RSA Council was advised that Allan's wishes re this painting were that weapons be painted in the hands of the combatants and the foreground painted in and Council appointed a committee inc DO Hill, JNPaton, Harvey, Drummond, Johnstone etc to consider what best to be done - they reported back that only very minor touch ups to weapons and bridles etc be attempted and gentle scumbling over passages of less harmonious colour.(reference found by Robin H Rodger, RSA Documentation Officer during research for Ages of Wonder, 2017)

RSA Vouchers 1859 [101] receipted invoice from Aitken Dott 1859-12-05; "1858-11-24; To a large laurel pattern frame 16 1/2 ft x 6 ft 11" for picture of Bannockburn £9.0.0; one , do, 27 x 20 1/8 inches for picture by Duncan; one do oak leaf pattern 46 x 38 3/4 inches Scott £3.3/-; an antique pattern frame 41 x 35 Lan Franco £2.10/-; one do 51 1/4 x 41 inches Portrait £2.15/-; a Lawrence frame, 42 x 30 1/8 inches "Ferry Boat" £2.18/-; one do, 38 x 26 inches Gibb £2.15/-; one do 41 x 27 inches Williams £2.12/-; as per estimate £27.10/-."

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