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The Ettrick Shepherd

© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: The Fleming Collection

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James Hogg (1770–1835) was one of Scotland’s most intriguing and original writers. He began his career as a shepherd near his birthplace in the Ettrick Forest, some 40 miles south of Edinburgh. After his literary talent was discovered by Sir Walter Scott, he published extensively in verse and prose, became acquainted with leading Romantic writers of the day, and acquired his nickname ‘The Ettrick Shepherd’ in 'Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine'. Bellany’s haunting image was painted soon after he had been deeply impressed by Hogg’s prose masterpiece 'The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner' (1824). The novel tells of the struggles of a young Scot, around 1700, against madness, evil and possession: struggles which may be seen reflected here in the gaze of the shepherd himself.

The Fleming Collection



The Ettrick Shepherd




oil on canvas


H 154.9 x W 151.1 cm

Accession number


Work type



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The Fleming Collection

14 Buckingham Street, London, Greater London WC2N 6DF England

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