Exhibition | The Tweeddales: Power, Politics and Portraits

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 25, 2017

Attributed to Sir John Baptiste de Medina, The Family of John Hay, 1st Marquess Tweeddale, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, ca. 1695, oil on canvas, 141 × 184 cm (Scottish National Portrait Gallery, purchased with the aid of the Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund 1999).

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Now on view at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery:

The Tweeddales: Power, Politics and Portraits
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 23 April 2016 — 28 May 2017

Wealthy, influential, and politically savvy the Tweeddale family was at the heart of Scottish society in the second half of the seventeenth century. At the head of the family was John Hay (1626–1697), 2nd Earl and later 1st Marquess of Tweeddale. His marriage to Lady Jean Scott (1629–1688), second daughter of the Borders landowner Walter Scott, 1st Earl of Buccleuch, brought him wealth, opportunity, and a large family—the couple had several children. Members of the Tweeddale dynasty married into some of the noblest families in Scotland and England.

While several members of the Tweeddale family are acknowledged for their contribution to politics, the military, and for their strategic marriage matches, their role as patrons of the arts and architecture is often overlooked. The family were enthusiastic art collectors who commissioned portraits and landscapes by established and little-known artists, particularly those of Dutch, Flemish, and German origin including Sir Anthony van Dyck, Sir Peter Lely, Gerard Soest, and Sir John Baptiste de Medina. Paintings by each these artists feature in the exhibition. The highlight of the exhibition is the fascinating group portrait of the Marquess and his family, attributed to the Flemish artist Sir John Baptiste de Medina, which was painted around 1695.

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