An iconic portrait for the culture of Gaelic Scotland has been secured by the City of Glasgow.
Glasgow Museums has obtained A Highland Chieftain: Portrait of Lord Mungo Murray by John Michael Wright, painted circa 1683.
The striking painting is the earliest major portrait to depict a sitter full-length in Highland dress. Mungo Murray, aged 15, wears an exquisite doublet and féileadh mór, or belted plaid in tartan, that pre-dates the invention of kilts and clan tartans.
The purchase was made with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Art Fund, Friends of Glasgow Museums and the National Fund for Acquisitions.
The painting has been put on display in the Scottish Identity in Art gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, surrounded by interesting examples of Scottish weaponry, textiles and decorative art objects, which provide fascinating historical context.
Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar, said: ‘Lord Mungo Murray’s fine portrait draws on the ideology of the brave and fearless warrior, so much part of Scotland’s history and identity. It’s an excellent addition to Glasgow Museums’ permanent collection, enriching the story of one the most celebrated of Highland Chieftains.’
The large-scale work presents Lord Mungo Murray (1668-1700) as a powerful Highlander warrior, standing in a mountainous landscape with his servant in the background carrying his master’s longbow and fur-decorated targe.
A Highland Chieftain: Portrait of Lord Mungo Murray is certain to delight local visitors and anyone with a Scottish family connection given its historical significance and insight, allowing for a better understanding of Scottish national heritage.
Visitors will be able to learn more about painting and the artist, John Michael Wright, through a programme of events and activities that will be accompanying the display at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
For more information visit www.glasgowmuseums.com.