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Sir William Allan
Born 1782
Died 1850
Nationality Scottish
Field Painting

Sir William Allan (1782–1850) was a distinguished Scottish historical painter, born in Edinburgh and educated at the Royal High School. He was president of the Royal Scottish Academy. William Allan travelled throughout Russia from 1805 to 1814, and spent much time in the Partitioned Poland. Since the subjects of his paintings did not sell well, he switched to Scottish subjects, illustrating scenes from the writings of his friend, Sir Walter Scott, who promoted his work. Among his most known work are Circassian Captives and Slave-Market at Constantinople.


  • Russian Peasants keeping their Holiday (1809)
  • Bashkirs (1814, Hermitage)
  • Frontier Guard (1814, Hermitage)
  • The Sale of Circassian Captives to a Turkish Bashaw (1816)
  • Tartar Robbers dividing Spoil ( 1817, Tate Gallery)
The Murder of David Rizzio (1833) depicts the killing of Queen Mary's secretary David Rizzio in her presence, an event which took place at Holyroodhouse in 1566


  • Allan, William, "Sir William Allan," Connoisseur, Vol. 186, No. 748, June 1974, pp. 88-92.
  • Richard Redgrave; Samuel Redgrave: A century of British painters. Oxford 1947 (Reprint 1981).
  • Esme Gordon: The Royal Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture & Architecture 1826-1976. Edinburgh 1976.
  • Frank Lewis: A dictionary of British historical painters. Leigh-on-Sea 1979.
  • Roisin A. Kennedy: The subject paintings of Sir William Allan (1782-1850). University of Edinburgh, 1994.
  • William Allan: artist adventurer. Jeremy Howard with contributions from John Morrison, Sara Stevenson and Andrzej Szczerski. Edinburgh: City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries 2001.

External links

Media related to William Allan (painter) at Wikimedia Commons



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