Robert Michael Ballantyne

1 portrait of Robert Michael Ballantyne

Robert Michael Ballantyne, by John Ballantyne, circa 1855 - NPG 4128 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Robert Michael Ballantyne

by John Ballantyne
oil on canvas, circa 1855
25 1/2 in. x 20 in. (648 mm x 508 mm)
Given by Mrs I. McK. Dobson, and family, 1959
Primary Collection
NPG 4128


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  • John Ballantyne (1815-1897), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 9 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

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A prolific writer of adventure stories for boys, Ballantyne joined the Hudson Bay Company at the age of sixteen and his Canadian experiences provided material for his early stories. Always keen to research the settings of his books from life, Ballantyne himself became the image of heroic manliness, whether driving the London-Edinburgh express in preparation for The Iron Horse (1871), or disguising himself as an Arab in Algiers for Pirate City (1874). He is best remembered for Coral Island (1858). This portrait of him was painted by his brother, the artist John Ballantyne, for their friend Willie Bruce. It was painted in memory of the friends' trips to Norway in John Cowan's yacht to fish, shoot and paint.

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