The Tweeddales: Power, Politics and Portraits

A new exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery from April 23, 2016 to May 28, 2017 tells the story of the wealthy, influential and politically savvy Tweeddale family which was at the heart of Scottish society in the second half of the 17th century.

The exhibition is called The Tweeddales — Power, Politics and Portraits.

At the head of the family was John Hay (1626 – 1697), 2nd Earl and later 1st Marquess of Tweeddale.

Tweeddale’s marriage to Lady Jean Scott (1629-1688), second daughter of the Borders landowner Walter Scott, 1st Earl of Buccleuch, brought him wealth, opportunity, and a large family — the couple had several children.

Members of the Tweeddale dynasty married into some of the most influential families in Scotland and England.

The highlight of the exhibition is a fascinating group portrait of the Marquess and his family, attributed to the Flemish artist Sir John Baptiste de Medina and painted around 1695.

While members of the Tweeddale family are acknowledged for their roles in politic and the military, their roles as patrons of the arts and architecture are often overlooked.

The family were enthusiastic art collectors who commissioned portraits and landscapes by established and little-known artists, particularly those of Dutch, Flemish and German origin including, Sir Anthony van Dyck, Sir Peter Lely, Gerard Soest and Sir John Baptiste de Medina.

Paintings by these artists feature in the exhibition.

Featured image: The Family of John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale (detail), attributed to John Baptiste de Medina, 1695.