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James Macpherson

(1736-1796), Poet

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 4 portraits
Macpherson, a poet, writer and Member of Parliament, is most famous for his supposed translations of the poetry of Ossian, a third-century Scottish Highland Bard. Published as Fragments of Ancient Poetry (1760), Fingal (1762) and Temora (1763), these poems were based on the collection of Gaelic ballads that Macpherson made while touring the Highlands. Although exposed as fakes in 1805, the poems had already developed a cult status, which was fuelled by the rise of national sentiment and the taste for the sublime and rustic. His work enjoyed a European reputation, finding favour with Schiller, Goethe and Napoleon, and remained popular even after the exposure of its origins.

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James Macpherson, after Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG 983

James Macpherson

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, based on a work of 1772
NPG 983

James Macpherson, by John Keyse Sherwin, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D5183

James Macpherson

by John Keyse Sherwin, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1775
NPG D5183

James Macpherson, by John Keyse Sherwin, after  Sir Joshua Reynolds - NPG D5184

James Macpherson

by John Keyse Sherwin, after Sir Joshua Reynolds
line engraving, published 1775
NPG D5184


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