Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Comments? Do please tell us: [email protected]
A watercolour portrait of William Ross (1823-1891), Queen Victoria's Piper, in full Highland dress against a background of the East Terrace at Windsor Castle. Signed and dated "K. McLeay RSA/1866".
After painting Queen Victoria's three younger sons in the early 1860s, Kenneth MacLeay, a miniature and watercolour portrait painter, was commissioned to produce further portraits of the Queen's favourite retainers. From this developed a more significant commission, and indeed the most important of the artist's career: a series of portraits of representatives of the more important Highland clans, with a view to publication. This group of portraits of retainers and clansmen was executed during the second half of the 1860s and exhibited by John Mitchell, Old Bond Street, in 1869, and then reproduced in chromolithograph by Vincent Brooks (London's premier lithographer) as illustrations to the two-volume 'The Highlanders of Scotland' (1870; this watercolour Plate III).
William Ross served in the 42nd Royal Highlanders until 1854, when he was selected to be the Queen's Piper. He held this latter post until his death in 1891.
Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil and watercolour', 'pencil', 'watercolour painting'