This portrait was painted in the winter of 1807–1808 in Edinburgh on the occasion of Bishop Hay's last visit. It was commissioned directly from the artist (Sir George Watson, President of the Royal Scottish Academy) and cost £20. The portrait appears to be unfinished; Watson would probably have painted only the face and main features whilst leaving other details – the hands in this portrait – to be done by pupils. This would explain the somewhat leaden appearance of Bishop Hay’s fingers and hands, which contrast with the skilful rendering of his face.
Where to see this painting?
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection