NPG Number
4128
Mkey
314
Sitter/Title
Robert Michael Ballantyne
Qualifier
by
Artist(s)
JohnBallantyne
Date made
circa 1855
Medium
oil on canvas
Credit line
© National Portrait Gallery, London
robert michael ballantyne

314

4128

Robert Michael Ballantyne

by

John Ballantyne

circa 1855

oil on canvas

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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.