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In Focus | Reverend Robert Walker By Henry Raeburn

27th November 2020

Henry Raeburn's well-known portrait, popularly known as ‘The Skating Minister' has become an icon of Scottish art. The painting is consistently sought out by gallery visitors, keen to see this small image in person. Quite why it has become such a popular and well-known painting is something of a mystery, given that it shows a man in dark clothing in a grey landscape. But the quirkiness of his pose, humorous concept of a solemn minister skating, and the quintessentially Scottish setting come together in an energetic and unusual portrait. Maybe the simplicity is part of its appeal. More than any other painting in the collection, it has inspired numerous pastiches. Take a look at how this charming painting has captured our attention and how today he continues to appeal to audiences around the globe.

In this new series devoted to Scottish Art, we look at paintings by some of the nation’s finest artists. We examine them to uncover what makes each work so special and reveal some of the stories behind them.

This series is part of the Scottish National Gallery Project. The project will completely transform the way Scottish art is shown at the Gallery. A new suite of exhibition spaces will be created, which will be directly accessible from the adjoining Princes Street Gardens, and provide a light-filled, new home for the our unrivalled collection of Scottish art, raising its profile for visitors from all over the world.

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