Alasdair Ruadh MacDonell (c.1725–1761), 13th Chief of Glengarry

Image credit: Museum of the Isles

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This portrait is one of the few known to show the change and development in Scottish Highland dress. Its subject, Alasdair Ruadh MacDonell, 13th chief of Glengarry, is wearing a belted plaid, and his gillie or servant is wearing a version of what we know today as the modern kilt.

A known Jacobite supporter and officer in the French army, Alasdair Ruadh was captured by British Government forces on his return from France in November 1745. He spent the next 22 months imprisoned in the Tower of London. It has been suggested by the nineteenth-century author Andrew Lang that, upon his release, Alasdair Ruadh became the infamous Hanoverian secret agent 'Pickle the Spy'.

The painting always been in the family of the MacDonells of Glengarry. The gillie is carrying heather, the badge of Clan Donald.

Museum of the Isles



Alasdair Ruadh MacDonell (c.1725–1761), 13th Chief of Glengarry




oil on canvas


H 156 x W 121 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by Marsaili Cuninghame, 1999

Work type



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Normally on display at

Museum of the Isles

Armadale Castle, Armadale, Highland IV45 8RS Scotland

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