Following the controversial publication of an article in the Burlington Magazine arguing that The Skating Minister – one of Britain’s most loved paintings – had actually been painted by a Frenchman, writer and broadcaster Alan Taylor set out to investigate.

The portrait of Reverend Robert Walker cheerfully skating on Duddingston Loch has long been held to be one of Sir Henry Raeburn’s masterpieces. Brought to the National Gallery of Scotland in 1949 by director Ellis Waterhouse from the collection of the great grand-daughter of the sitter, it has become an international icon. But has scholarship changed, and could the court painter of the last French King really be the artist at work?

Or did the elderly great-granddaughter of a Scottish minister fool all the art experts?

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