This painting, The Riders of the Sidhe, was completed in 1911 by Dundonian John Duncan. It’s the masterpiece of the Celtic Revival movement, which was headed by Duncan. In Celtic myth, the Sidhe are the fairy folk. Each year, on Midsummer Night, the Sidhe ride forth to the sacred circle, to initiate mortals into the mysteries of their faith. The artist explained the symbolism in this painting when he wrote: "Each rider carries a symbol of age-long Celtic tradition. The Tree of Life means wisdom. The Love-Cup, the Grail cup of the heart of abundance and healing, is the symbol of Love. The Sword is the symbol of power or the will in action. The Stone of Quietness is the symbol of the will in its passive form, the crystal that reveals the past and the future." You may have noticed the swastika on the horse's harness. This is an ancient symbol of Life, Sun, Strength and Good Luck. This richly symbolic painting, steeped in Celtic mythology, is arguably Duncan’s best and most ambitious work. When you’re ready, there are two ways to leave The Victoria Gallery. You can go through the middle door into the 20th Century and Here and Now Galleries, where you’ll find a range of different displays. Or you can leave the Victoria Gallery through the right hand door to the stairwell where you first entered. Head right, into the Long Gallery.

Press play to start the audio from the beginning

The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum

The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum is situated in the centre of Dundee. The Museum and Art Gallery originally known as the Albert Institute was opened in 1867 as a memorial to Prince Albert. In 2005 The McManus closed for a major refurbishment, reopening again on the 28th February 2010. We celebrated our 150th Anniversay in 2017 with a year of celebration. In 2020 we were awarded Visitor Attraction of the Year by Visit Scotland. The McManus has 8 galleries, which are laid out on 2 floors. Visitors can embark on a journey through 400 million years, and witness how a small settlement developed into the City of Dundee as it is today. From exhibits relating to the life of early man in the area, stunning paintings and decorative art through to artefacts from industries past and present, the City's collections, many of which are recognised as being of national significance, give an insight into Dundee and its people.


  • The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum
  • Dundee United Kingdom
  • www.mcmanus.co.uk