Alexander Runciman


In 1767, Alexander Runciman accepted a commission from Sir James Clerk – brother of Sir John Clerk – to decorate the new house he was having built on the family estate at Penicuik. Originally classically themed, the painted scheme, completed in 1772, ended up featuring scenes drawn from James Macpherson’s ‘translations’ of Ossian. Among the first works to be derived from an artist’s reading of the poems, Runciman’s Ossian Hall attracted much interest among his contemporaries. It was recorded in written commentaries and through a body of drawings and related etchings such as this one by the artist.