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David WilkieThe People's Painter$
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Nicholas Tromans

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625208

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625208.001.0001

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Everyday Heroes: Wilkie’s Version of History

Everyday Heroes: Wilkie’s Version of History

(p.156) 4 Everyday Heroes: Wilkie’s Version of History
David Wilkie

Nicholas Tromans

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers the peculiarly visual characteristics of David Wilkie's version of history. It also discusses Wilkie's journey to Turkey and Palestine in 1840–1, undertaken in the hope of serving that cause. Between the commissioning and the exhibition of the Chelsea Pensioners, Wilkie reinvented himself as a Scottish artist. The success of Knox Preaching in 1832 encouraged him to revisit some of the ambitious historical subjects that he had kept on stand-by since his years abroad in 1825–8. At the end of his life, Wilkie was confirmed in what his own work as an historical painter had suggested: that the artist's version of history – even divine history – had its own language and its own authority, which neither books nor even experience necessarily had the capacity to reform.

Keywords:   David Wilkie, history, Turkey, Palestine, Chelsea Pensioners, Knox Preaching, Scottish artist

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