George Buchanan

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Educated at the Universities of St Andrews and Paris, Buchanan taught in Paris until his return to Scotland in 1536. Condemned as a heretic, he was imprisoned in the castle of St Andrews before escaping to France in 1539. He held professorships at Bordeaux and Paris, and later at Coimbra, Portugal, where he was put on trial for heresy in 1550–1501. He returned to Scotland in 1561 and tutored Mary, Queen of Scots. Initially loyal to the Queen, he later testified against her at her trial for the assassination of her husband, Lord Darnley. He became principal of St Leonard's College in St Andrews in 1566. His most substantial work, Rerum Scoticarum Historia, a history of Scotland, was published in 1582.

National Portrait Gallery, London



George Buchanan




oil on panel


H 34.9 x W 27.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Transferred from the British Museum, 1879

Work type



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