Thomas Duncan

1807 - 1845

Painter. Born at Kinclaven, near Meikleour (Perth and Kinross), the son of a miller who had played the fiddle with Neil Gow. The family moved to Perth in 1810, where Duncan was educated at Perth Academy. He met David Octavius Hill (1802-70) in Perth and followed Hill to Edinburgh in 1827, to train at the Trustees' Academy. Duncan is noted for historical works, often celebrating the Jacobite cause, such as Prince Charles' entry to Edinburgh after Prestonpans (1840). He returned to the Trustees Academy as a teacher in 1838 and was appointed its headmaster in 1844 in succession to Sir William Allan (1782 - 1850). He died from a brain tumour in Edinburgh and lies buried in Warriston Cemetery.

His last work was a sketch intended to form the basis for a painting of the Protestant martyr George Wishart (1513-46). This was purchased after his death by David Hill (1802-70) and his brother Alexander, and became the first Scottish painting to be photographed. Several of his works are held by Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

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