Allan, David

, a Scotch portrait and historical painter of the preceding century, was a native of Edinburgh, and patronised by sir William Erskine. He received the rudiments of his art in the academy of painting instituted, and carried on for a considerable time, by Messrs. Foulis, in Glasgow, Thence’he went to Italy, where he spent many years in unremitting application to the study of the great models of antiquity. At Rome in 1773, he gained the prize medal given by the academy of St. Luke for the best specimen of historical composition, and it is believed he was the only Scotchman (Gavin Hamilton excepted) who had then attained; that honour. After his return in 1777, he resided a few years in London; but about 1780 he went to Edinburgh, and was appointed director and master of the academy established in that metropolis by the board of | trustees for manufactures and improvements, for the purpose of diffusing a knowledge of the principles of the fine arts, and elegance of design, in the various manufactures and works which require to be figured and ornamented; a charge for which he was peculiarly well qualified, by the extensive knowledge he possessed of every branch of the art. He was much admired for his talents in composition, the truth with which he delineated nature, and the characteristic humour that distinguished his pictures, drawings, and etchings. There are several engravings from his pictures, one “The Origin of Painting, or the Corinthian maid drawing, the shadow of her lover;” and four, in aqua tfnta, by Paul Sandby, from drawings made by Allan when at Rome, representing the sports during the carnival. Several of the figures introduced in them, are portraits of persons well known to the English who visited Rome between 1770 and 1780. Mr. Allan died Aug. 6, 1796. In private life, his character was marked by the strictest honour and integrity, and his manners were gentle, unassuming, and obliging. 1


Edwards’s Supplement to Walpole’s Painters. Stark’s Biographia Scotica.