The Old Print Shop

Alexander III. King of Scotland Rescued from the Fury of a Stag.: By the intrepidity of Colin Fitzgerald, the Ancestor of the Present Mackenzie Family.

  • ARTIST: Benjamin West

  • MEDIUM: Stipple and line engraving, printed in colors.

    DATE: 1788. (c.1885)

  • EDITION SIZE: 19 5/8 x 26 1/8" (50 x 66.5 cm) plus title and margins

  • DESCRIPTION: B. West, pinx. F. Bartolozzi, sculp. <br><br>This engraving is by the noted engraver Francesco Bartolozzi (1725-1815) and is based on the painting by Benjamin West. The original painting measures a massive 12 x 17’ and depicts the legend in which the first chieftain of the Clan Mackenzie, Colin Fitzgerald, saves the life of the Scottish King, Alexander III. Fitzgerald is shown with a spear in hand, moments before he thrusts it into the stag, which had turned on the King during a hunting expedition. <br><br>Francis Humberston Mackenzie of Seaforth, chieftain of the Mackenzie Clan commissioned the painting in 1783 to commemorate his illustrious ancestor. For whatever reason, period impressions of the engraving are all but impossible to find. In one journal it notes that only six proof impressions were pulled. Noted in “The Athenaeum: Journal of Literature, Science and the Fine Arts No. 2984, Jan. 3, 1885," pp25, Mr. Tuer, of the Leadenhall Press, is going to republish some of the original copper-plates engraved by Bartolozzi and his school—in all some three dozen. Amongst others, the series will include the 'Clytie,' one of Bartolozzi's best works; 'Lady Smyth and Family'; 'Love Wounded ' and ' Love Healed,' by Cooper, after Shelley, engraved in stipple in 1798, but never published; and a large plate, 'Alexander III., King of Scotland, rescued from the Fury of a Stag by the Intrepidity of Colin Fitzgerald.' The last is from a picture painted by Benjamin West in Kentail Castle in 1784, for Humberton Mackenzie of Seaforth. The hero of the picture is Lord Seaforth. This plate, for which he received five hundred guineas, was engraved by Bartolozzi in 1788, and only six proofs were printed. The original intention, never carried out, was to present an impression to every member of the Mackenzie clan.


  • CONDITION: Good condition and color