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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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Wilkie and Scotland

Wilkie and Scotland

(p.216) 5 Wilkie and Scotland
David Wilkie

Nicholas Tromans

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter is concerned with David Wilkie and Scotland, reflecting back upon the artist's whole career, first considering the question of how Scotland was to be represented in pictures. It reviews Wilkie's Sir David Baird Discovering the Body of Sultan Tippoo Saib. Furthermore, Wilkie's relation with the emerging art institutions of Edinburgh are investigated, and this story is related to the larger question of how the issue of patronage helped define Scottish culture's view of itself in the nineteenth century. The chapter then illustrates how, in his last completed major work, Wilkie explicitly placed the iconic Highlander in his imperial context. Wilkie's picture of Scottish soldiers in India forms part of the museological history of Empire. Wilkie was pressed back into the model of Scottish art that imagined the nation's cultural life to have grown from the grassroots upwards, encouraged by ‘a healthy, philistine demand’ and independent of elite patronage.

Keywords:   David Wilkie, Scotland, Sultan Tippoo Saib, Edinburgh, Scottish culture, India, Scottish art

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