by John Kay
4 5/8 in. x 3 1/8 in. (116 mm x 80 mm) plate size; 10 3/8 in. x 7 5/8 in. (263 mm x 193 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Artistback to top
- John Kay (1742-1826), Miniature painter and caricaturist. Artist or producer associated with 288 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Golf, first documented in Scotland in 1457, was a national pastime. Alexander McKellar was a fanatical, though notoriously poor player. An Edinburgh tavern-keeper and ex-butler, he was renowned for playing golf all day and into the night by lamp-light, through summer, and in winter in the frozen snow. He was delighted to be the subject of Kay's etching, though his wife, who was left to run the tavern on her own, hated the game and was embarrassed by her husband's notoriety.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 480
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- John Kay: Portraits of curious characters (15 December 2007 - 13 July 2008)
Events of 1803back to top
Current affairsThe Vice Society is formally established by John Reeves and his associates to campaign against blasphemy and immorality, particularly that perpetrated by Thomas Paine and the Edinburgh Review.
Art and scienceErasmus Darwin's Temple of Nature published posthumously. A scientific treaty in the form of an elaborate couplet poem, its content anticipated some of the evolutionary ideas developed by his grandson, Charles Darwin, fifty years later.
Construction of the Caledonian Canal begins.
InternationalWar with France resumes, sparking new fears of a cross-channel invasion.
United Irishman, Robert Emmett's attempted uprising in Dublin. Planned to coincide with Napoleon's expected invasion, it aimed to overthrow the English administration but ended in failure. Emmett is hanged along with several other conspirators.
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