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Women's stories--HerStories--have historically been overlooked, forgotten, or silenced. The Smith seeks to reverse this trend by highlighting unknown accomplishments and challenges surrounding the women represented in our Victorian portraiture collection.

Rather than pore over Joshua Reynolds’ brushstrokes as art historians have for centuries, this project asks questions like: who was the sitter, Harriet Dutens? What was her life like when she sat for her portrait in 1772? What is her legacy?

The Hidden HerStories of Harriet Dutens, Agnes Smith Greig & Georgina Smith that we have begun to uncover mark an exciting shift away from male-dominated narratives to ones where the women depicted on canvas come alive!

3 artworks
  • Harriet Dutens

    • In 1772, Scottish officer of the British Army, Sir James Campbell (born James Callander) spotted Harriet Dutens (c. 1749-1773) at the opera in London. Just ten days later, they were wed by special licence.

    • The pair were married for less than a year before Harriet succumbed to an illness that came on after the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth.

    • Harriet and James made one visit to the Stirling area to visit his family before her untimely death.

    • In his memoirs, Campbell remembers his late wife’s skills and intellect fondly: ‘she had not merely practiced music as an art but had studied it as a science, and to her, I am indebted for any little knowledge of astronomy which I afterwards possessed.’

    Harriet Dutens of Craigforth 1772
    Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792)
    Oil on canvas
    H 75 x W 62 cm
    The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum
    Harriet Dutens of Craigforth
    Photo credit: The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

  • Agnes Smith Greig

    • This portrait of Agnes Smith Greig (1812-1891) by Daniel Macnee dates to 1840 and shows her before a backdrop of Stirling Castle and St. Ninians where she married advocate and sheriff, Alexander Stuart Logan the same year.

    • Agnes gave birth to seven children. This work was bequeathed to the Smith by one of her daughters, Agnes Maciver Logan in 1928.

    • Speaking of HerStories…Agnes Maciver Logan had her own stories to tell! She penned two works under the pseudonym, Katherine Steuart, By Allan Water: The True Story of an Old House and Richard Kennoway and His Friends, the former chronicling the lives of Stirling-area families.

    Agnes Smith Greig 1840
    Daniel Macnee (1806–1882)
    Oil on canvas
    H 90 x W 69.5 cm
    The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum
    Agnes Smith Greig
    Photo credit: The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

  • Georgina Smith

    • Georgina Smith (1821-1846) married merchant, Walter Paterson on 8 November 1842 in Barony Parish, Glasgow.

    • Unfortunately, Georgina passed away just a few years later in 1846, the same year that her portrait by John Graham-Gilbert was completed. Nonetheless, Smith was survived by generations of strong and talented women.

    • Smith’s daughter, Grace Chalmers Paterson was the co-founder and principal of the Glasgow School of Cookery, as well as an activist in the temperance and women’s suffrage movements.

    • Grace Chalmers Paterson’s niece, Grace Tasker led a similarly remarkable life in Stirling. Tasker earned an MBE for her efforts on the home front during World War I and it was Tasker who donated Georgina’s portrait to the Smith!

    Georgina Smith 1846
    John Graham-Gilbert (1794–1866)
    Oil on canvas
    H 125 x W 99 cm
    The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum
    Georgina Smith
    Photo credit: The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum