Gilbert Douglas

To the memory of
Gilbert Douglas
of Douglas Park
Born 28th May 1749 Died 10th March 1807
and also of Cecilia Douglas
of Orbiston
His wife
Born 28th Feby 1772 Died 25th July 1862

This plaque is on the wall of St Brides Collegiate Church, Bothwell, Lanarkshire

Note:  In the 1868 court case, Douglas Trustees Vs Douglas, Gilbert's date of death is 10 Mar 1810. It mentions 2 nephews, George and Joseph.

He was a West India merchant in Glasgow, who had large plantations in the Island of St. Vincent. At the time of his death, he owned a sugar plantation, Mount Pleasant, in St Vincent and a cotton plantation, Fairfield, in Demerara.

His residence in the city was on the north side of George Square, later becoming one of the hotels.

In 1794 Gilbert Douglas married Cecilia Douglas, only surviving daughter of John Douglas, merchant in Glasgow, whose father was a merchant in Leith, and whose mother was a daughter of the third James Dunlop of Garnkirk.

Gilbert Douglas died in 1807 without issue, and his widow inherited his estates of Douglas Park and Boggs, in the neighbourhood, to which she afterwards added by purchase the remainder of the estate of Orbiston. The properties were then merged into one, and she gave to the whole, including the mansion house of Douglas Park, the name of Orbiston.

Cecilia also inherited her husband's art collection, accumulated from the proceeds of his West Indies estates.

The collection under scrutiny is made up of oil-on-canvas works mainly created in the early 1800s. They include one Old Master – Still-life: Herring, Cherries And Glassware by Willem van Aelst – plus three original works by 19th century artists and a number of Old Master copies. Works by van Aelst can sell for more than £100,000.

It is believed Gilbert Douglas bought, and perhaps commissioned, many of these Old Master copies during a Grand Tour around the Continent in the 1820s.

The Douglas collection:

  • Still-life: Herring, Cherries and Glassware, Willem van Aelst, 1680 (below)
  • A marble tabletop draped with a curtain supports a silver plate carrying a herring, cherries and wineglass.
  • View of the Roman Forum, Gaspare Gabrielli, 1824
  • The Italian landscape setting shows the ruined columns of the Temple of Vespasian the temple of Castor and Pollux.
  • The Death of Julius Caesar, Vincenzo Camuccini, c1825-29
  • Caesar is attacked in the Senate by a group including Brutus and falls under their daggers.
  • Roman Women Offering Their Jewellery in Defence of the State, Vincenzo Camuccini, c1825-29
  • A mass of robed women gossip as they line up.

    The paintings (some or all) are held by Glasgow City Council. The paintings, including an Old Master which is currently on public display, have been housed in Kelvingrove since being donated by Cecilia Douglas on her death in 1862. In 2012, it was questioned as to whether it was appropriate to display works of art acquired through wealth accumulated through the proceeds of slavery.
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  • This page was last updated on 29 June 2015

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    Last modified: Monday, 21 April 2014