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7 Feb 2020

Peacocks on the move!

Written by Antonia Laurence Allen, Curator (Edinburgh and East)
A large painting of colourful exotic birds, including a peacock, cockatoo and some pheasants.
Peacocks, Cockatoos and Other Birds in a Landscape by Jacob Bogdany, c1700–24, National Trust for Scotland, Hill of Tarvit
This painting from the collection at Hill of Tarvit was purchased in the early 1900s by Frederick Sharp, the owner of a newly built mansion house near Cupar. The house was designed by Robert S Lorimer to display the family’s paintings, ceramics and fine furniture.

These birds have flown to nest temporarily in an exhibition at Tate Britain, in a show devoted to the later 17th century and the first to explore baroque art in Britain.

The dining room at Hill of Tarvit, with the image focused on the large wooden polished dining table. Several paintings hang on the walls.
Hill of Tarvit dining room with the painting on the wall

The baroque emerged from the Catholic Church’s programme of propaganda against the Protestant Reformation in the 1600s. The art was designed to be larger than life, to inspire and reach viewers on an emotional level. Originally focused on religious content, painters gradually applied this lavish style to other subjects. It was particularly suited to royal portraiture, for example.

In Britain, Sir Peter Lely (1618–80) and Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723) made names for themselves at court. Lely’s portrait of James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch (1649–85) wearing the Order of the Garter can be seen at Fyvie Castle. And several portraits of the Earls of Mar by Kneller can be seen at Alloa Tower.

Jacob Bogdany (1658–1724), also referred to as Jacob Bogdani or Jakob Bogdány, was renowned for producing large scale paintings, abundantly decorated with flowers and birds. He became fashionable at the court of Queen Anne with his paintings of riotous colour and profusion of foreign and domestic fowl.

Bogdany was born in what is now Slovakia, studied in Amsterdam and moved to London in his late twenties, where he lived for the rest of his life.

The painting will return to the dining room at Hill of Tarvit in April 2020. To learn more about the painting collection at Hill of Tarvit, visitors can sign up for an exclusive tour:

Going Dutch - The painting collection at Hill of Tarvit

For more about this Scottish house in the country, designed for entertaining and bringing up a young family, discover Hill of Tarvit in a new collection of essays.

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