Aberdeenshire Museums Service’s fine art collection is the largest local authority collection in north-east Scotland outside Aberdeen City. It contains over 200 oil paintings from the late seventeenth century to the present day, including works by major north-east artists such as Robert Brough, Joseph Farquharson, James Giles, George Sherwood Hunter, John Phillip and Sir George Reid. The collection is based mainly on the former burgh collection of Peterhead, developed principally after the building of the Arbuthnot Museum and Art Gallery (and Public Library) in 1893, to which have been added a small number of paintings from other former north-east burghs. More recently the Museum Service has purchased contemporary art by local north-east artists and has received works through the Contemporary Art Society. Paintings in the collection include the late seventeenth-century portrait 'Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman in Armour', after Willem Wissing, the maritime painting 'Whalers in Pack Ice', by an unknown artist, depicting the Baffin Fair of 1830 when 19 British whaling vessels were crushed in pack ice, and James Forbes’s Byronesque portrait of the Peterhead ballad collector and printer Peter Buchan.