Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed.
Glenora Single Malt Whisky

Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.
Scottish Review

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Art in Scotland
Chapter XIV


To the natives of a country no other landscapes are so beautiful as their own. The early Dutch masters, although introducing scenery unknown in their own land into their pictures, have still left us as their great representative works those of Rembrandt, Hobbema, and Van der Veldt; and although Ruysdael, with a few others, have painted some of the wilder features of natural scenery with marked success, their sympathies always appear more in harmony with the low flat village, the sandy dune, and undulating pathway. To a Scottish artist, the mist trailing on the mountain-side, sweep of Highland river or expanse of savage moorland, seem more adapted for painting from than the Dutch level, the clear expanse of Italian lake, or the Swiss valley; and while he feels more capable of grasping the character of the less lofty mountains of Scotland than those of the Alps, he is more successful in rendering the rich glowing sunsets of our western shores, than the exquisitely tender colour of the Alpine glow, with its ever- shifting tints of tender yellow and rose-bloom on untrodden snow. It is almost within the memory of a few still living that the art of landscape-painting in Scotland first took its position in the works of the Nasmyths and Thomson of Duddingston, traces of whose style are still observable in the best of our landscapes. Their style was the style of nature, and their successors have only surpassed their works where they have searched more deeply into her secrets, and wrought more directly from the source of their inspiration, thus imbuing theirork with the only style which will outlive fugitive fashion.

Some reference has already been made to the earlier Scottish artists who practised landscape-painting, the most important of whom were tempted abroad, and thus exercised little or no influence on the formation of its style in Scotland. Although a number of landscapes were painted in the eighteenth century, none were of any great consequence. Old Norrie has been mentioned as practising the art, mostly in a decorative form, so early as the first half of the century. Jacob More and Alexander Runciman, as already said, acquired the rudiments of their art from Norrie; and from the second of these, Alexander Nasmyth, who is justly styled the father of landscape-painting in Scotland, received the elements of his art education. Nasmyth occupies much the same position in Scottish landscape-painting which Raeburn and Wilkie hold in portrait and figure subjects. Before the advent of these, our artists may be said to have been only feeling their way, and in those two instances they have hardly been excelled to the present day. Of the three, Raeburn had the longest professional pedigree, Wilkie the shortest, while Nasmyth was probably the least indebted to his few predecessors in art.

Nasmyth was descended from an old Scottish family, the traditional and other details of which have been duly chronicled in the Autobiography of his son James, of engineering fame. The grandfather as well as the father of Alexander were both named Michael, and both practised in Edinburgh as builders and architects. The father, who possessed a good collection of then rare and expensive books on architecture, erected some good and substantial dwelling- houses in the city. He died at a ripe old age in 1803, leaving two sons. Michael, the elder, took to the sea in preference to his father's business, and after varied commercial ventures, had a part in many naval engagements, ultimately dying in Greenwich Hospital, where he was often visited by his brother. Alexander was born on the 9th September 1758, in a house in the Grassmarket, opposite to the old inn from which the first coach was started on the Newcastle route, concerning which James relates that the notice bore the curious intimation that the coach would start "ilka Tuesday at twa o'clock in the day, God wullin'; but whether or no, on Wednesday." His mother, a neat and handy woman, taught him his alphabet, and also encouraged in his infancy the taste which he inherited from his father. The elementary part of his education being thus attained, he was passed at an early age to Mammy Smith's school, where he was taught to read his Bible and learn his Carritch, as the Catechism was then called. The Mammy at this time had several boys of good families under her care, one of whom was Erskine, afterwards so distinguished as the leader of the forlorn-hope at Seringapatam, and who along with Nasmyth and other boys sorely troubled the old wives of the neighbourhood with their pranks. A favourite nocturnal amusement was to climb the Castle-hill, from which they set adrift a barrel filled with loose stones, the rattling of which on the house- roofs brought the indwellers to their garret-windows with dips and lanterns, to ascertain the cause of the unusual noise. After a short time at the High School, he was further taught arithmetic and mathematics by his father, and at his own request was apprenticed to a coachbuilder named Crighton, by whom he was employed to paint ciphers and armorial bearings on the coach-panels. During this time he applied for admission to the evening class at the Trustees' Academy, and was at once admitted by Runciman, to whom he had submitted specimen drawings, and where he drew for some considerable time from the cast. Allan Ramsay, who was then in a good position as a portrait-painter in London, called on his old friend Crighton during a visit to Edinburgh, and was attracted by the skilful work of young Nasmyth. After a good deal of persuasion, backed up by the payment of a sum of money by Ramsay, Nasmyth was carried off to London, to work among the other assistants in the portrait-painter's studio. There, in his element, he wrought with enthusiasm, and Reinagle, who was then with Ramsay, made an oil-sketch of the boy-artist at work, still preserved by the Nasmyth family, but which is evidently too childlike in appearance, as he was then about seventeen years of age. A droll story of him is related by his son James, in evidence of his ingenuity in adapting himself to circumstances. He had arranged to escort a sweetheart to Ranelagh, where every one went in full dress, the bucks and other swells in long striped silk stockings. Nasmyth of course had only one pair of these, which he washed himself; and hung at the fire to dry, but on going to remove them, found that he had placed them so near that they were singed and burned past all remedy. Being determined not to lose his outing, or to appear in unfashionable array, the paint- pot was resorted to in the emergency, and he had the gratification of escorting his sweetheart, in what were supposed to be a pair of black and white stockings, the very admirable fit of which was the envy of the other beaux, some of whom were curious to know where he had purchased them. He returned to Edinburgh in 1778, where he began practice as a portrait-painter, and was early employed by Patrick Miller of Dalswinton. This gentleman, who had been a banker, after retiring from business amused himself by making various mechanical inventions and contrivances. He was the inventor of the carronade, which soon afterwards came into use in the royal navy, which is said to have largely contributed to the British successes, by its advantages over the slower-charged long-bore guns previously used. Mr Miller was at this time devising the application of steam as a propelling power for ships, and finding Nasmyth as ingenious in mechanics as he was skilful in drawing, got him to make a number of drawings connected with his contrivance, which were afterwards engraved and published. The Autobiography of James contains a woodcut from a drawing by the artist of the first steamboat, which was floated on Dalswinton Loch on the 14th October 1788. It represents a kind of small pleasure-boat, and the figures which appear on board are those of Patrick Miller, Sir William Monteith, the poet Burns, William Taylor, and the artist.

The previous engineering experiments having absorbed a great deal of Nasmyth's time, which ought to have been devoted to his art, Miller advanced £500 to enable him to go to Italy. He accordingly left Scotland in December 1782, and remained away two years studying from the old masters, varied by occasional practice in landscape-sketching in and about the suburbs of Rome and other Italian cities. Immediately after his return to Edinburgh he resumed his portrait-painting, with such success that he was soon able to repay Miller's loan, and in 1786 married Barbara, daughter of Sir William Foulis of Woodhall, who was a distant relative. He received a considerable amount of employment from people of rank and wealth. His portraits were usually full-lengths, the figures in which were from 12 to 14 inches in height, and arranged as groups in conversation, with sometimes a garden or bit of landscape forming the background : examples of these are at Minto House and Dalmeny Park. He lived at this time in Wardrop's Court, close to the lodging of Robert Burns, who had recently come to Edinburgh, and it was during the first year of his married life that he painted the portrait of the poet now in the Scottish National Gallery, on which he only spent a few hours.' It has been stated that this was painted at the request of Creech the bookseller, as a frontispiece, and who is also mentioned as having introduced the poet and painter at breakfast in his own house. It is more probable, however, that the two first met at the house of Patrick Miller, and James Nasmyth distinctly states that it was presented to Mrs Burns. It afterwards passed into the possession of Colonel W. Burns, who bequeathed it to the National Gallery, in which it now hangs. it has been elsewhere stated that Nasmyth had six sittings. It was never quite finished, and notwithstanding the criticism passed upon it by Sir Walter Scott as being less farmer-like than the famous original, and by others as being too narrow in the face, neck, and shoulders, and too pale in colour, it still retains its position as the most authentic likeness existing of the poet. It was engraved in stipple in the same year, 1787, by Beugo, who had the advantage of several sittings from Burns when it was nearly finished; but although he took great pains with it, Nasmyth was never quite satisfied—the later mezzotint by Walker receiving his highest commendation. Replicas of this portrait are in the National Portrait Gallery in London, and at Auchendrane. He painted another from memory in 1827, which was reproduced in Lockhart's 'Life of Burns.' Many rambles were enjoyed by Nasmyth and Burns, especially to the King's Park and the summit of Arthur's Seat; and it is related of the pair, that after spending a convivial night at a tavern in High Street with other choice spirits, who kept up the talk long after the hour now prescribed by the Forbes Mackenzie Act, they found themselves in the street about three o'clock on a bright June morning. Burns, looking up at the pure clear sky, said, "It'll never do to go to bed on such a lovely morning as this; let's awa' to Roslin Castle;" and off they started. "Passing a cottage a few miles out of town, they heard a frightful noise within, and going up to learn what was the matter, found that the sounds proceeded from a poor man whose reason had given way. Mr Nasmyth used afterwards to describe in thrilling terms the appalling exclamations of the lunatic, and the effect which they had upon Burns. The two friends afterwards continued their walk to the hills, had a fine morning ramble, and having thus cleared off the effects of their dissipation, came down to Roslin for breakfast." At Roslin Castle, Burns stood speechless and motionless under the great arch over the path leading down to the river, while Nasmyth some little distance off pencilled a hasty portrait-sketch on a scrap of paper. Such exploits, however, on the part of the painter, must have been very infrequent, as he was an active and enthusiastic worker, his eye retaining its clearness and his hand its cunning up till his eightieth year.

Being an outspoken Liberal in politics, at that time when political feeling ran so high, he frequently found himself strongly opposed in his opinions to those of his sitters, and it is understood that this led him in 1793 to abandon portrait for landscape, for which, however, he had always a strong predilection. His success had enabled him to have a house and studio built for himself from his own designs, at 47 York Place, in which he began to paint landscape and also to receive pupils. Among those who benefited by his advice or instruction, were Wilkie, Grant, Roberts, Stanfield, W. Allan, Grecian Williams, Geddes, and Thomson of Duddingston. His great abilities as a scene-painter are well known, one of his most celebrated productions in that branch of art being the drop in the old Theatre Royal in Queen Street, Glasgow, which was destroyed by fire. This and the other scenery in the same theatre was highly praised, especially by David Roberts and W. L. Leitch, and represented the justly celebrated view on the Clyde from Dalnottar Hill, before it was destroyed by the now excessive introduction of steamers and railways. Referring to this, Leitch wrote: "As a scene, I have never seen anything to compare with it, and I have seen the principal theatres in France, Italy, and Germany, besides everything of the kind in London. . . . The perfection of the execution was wonderful. You felt as if you could pull aside the branch of a tree and find another beneath it. I never saw painting so like nature, and this was its charm." I His acquaintance with Clarkson Stanfield, or "Young Stanny" as he was called, originated from his connection with this theatre, where the English artist's father was prompter, and subsequently an actor. David Roberts relates how "Stanny had shown his sketch-book to the veteran artist Nasmyth, and told him that he wished to form a style of his own. 'Young man,' exclaimed the experienced artist, 'there's but one style an artist should endeavour to attain, and that is the style of nature; the nearer you get to nature the better.' Among other scenery painted by Nasmyth is mentioned that for the Heart of Mid- Lothian, for the Theatre Royal of Edinburgh.

While visiting various country seats in his capacity as a portrait- painter, he was frequently consulted as to the best method of laying out grounds, advice which was at first given gratuitously and as an amateur. After the death of Lancelot Brown, known as " Capability" Brown from his frequent use of that word in the practice of his profession as a landscape-gardener, Nasmyth made this also a part of his profession, and to his taste and skill many of the Scottish nobility and gentry owe some of the finest of their park scenery. His son, the celebrated inventor of the steam- hammer, relates how the Duke of Argyll consulted him as to the possibility of getting trees or shrubs planted on an inaccessible spot on one of his estates. Nasmyth got some small tin cans made, which he filled with the necessary seeds. These he fired from a cannon pointed to the spot to be sown, where the seeds took root, as he some years afterwards saw, successfully.

Besides being a good mechanic, he was a skilful architect, and to his suggestions his native city is indebted for not a few of the improvements made in his time. The little classic temple of Hygeia at St Bernard's Well was built from his design, as also the Dean Bridge, with some alterations. The idea of the temple was taken from that of the Sibyl's Temple at Tivoli; it contained a statue of Hygeia by a London sculptor named Coade, and the foundation-stone is stated to have borne the following inscription: "Erected for the benefit of the public at the sole expense of Francis Garden, Esq. of Troupe, one of the senators of the College of Justice; A.D. 1789. Alexander Nasmyth, architect; John Wilson, builder." The magistrates of Edinburgh in 1815, in testimony of their appreciation of his services in these respects, presented him with a gift of £200, accompanied with a complimentary letter addressed to "Alexander Nasmyth, architect." He also supplied a design for the Nelson Monument, which was put aside on account of slightly exceeding the funds at disposal, in favour of the now standing erection. He was the inventor of the bow-and-string method as it was called, afterwards so extensively used in roofing large areas; and also of riveting by compression instead of by strokes of the hammer, those used being called Sunday rivets, on account of the absence of the noise caused by hammering. His architectural knowledge was of much assistance to Sir James Hall in the compilation of his work on the 'Origin of Gothic Architecture.

He was a frequent exhibitor in the Royal Academy in London, to which he first contributed in 1813 a View in Scotland, followed in 1816 by two pictures consisting of views of and from Culzean Castle; and afterwards at intervals exhibited various Scottish views, such as the High Street and Lawnmarket of Edinburgh, the Port of Leith, &c. He died on the ioth of April 1840; and by a strange coincidence, the last picture which he painted, entitled Going Home, represented a weary labourer crossing a bridge after his day's work done.

He sometimes made little models of old buildings and suchlike for painting from, and by a curious whim had constructed a family tree, as he called it, for which each of his family made a branch, which he fastened to the trunk with wire.1 Of his manner of working, Mr A. Fraser, R.S.A., writes : "Little is now to be learnt. He drew-in his subject-matter carefully with black-lead pencil, and then put in the masses of shadow with burnt sienna. He mixed up tints for his skies, and used largely a colour he called peach-stone grey, made from calcined peach-stones. His pictures are sometimes found a good deal cracked. However, they have retained their colour and brilliancy well. When a picture attributed to Alexander Nasmyth appears dull and heavy in colour it may be set down as a copy; indeed few artists of recent days have been more copied. Nasmyth made sketches in pencil from nature, and sometimes studies in oil to work from, but he never painted a picture altogether on the spot. From having spent so much of his time in teaching the mechanical processes of his art, he became latterly somewhat of a mannerist but his works possess so much artistic feeling, and so many varied excellences, that a good specimen of Alexander Nasmyth is a valuable addition to any collection of pictures.

He was a member of the already-mentioned Poker Club, and subsequently of the Dilettanti, where he associated much with the leading artists, and such kindred spirits as Sir Walter Scott, Henry Cockburn, Professor Wilson, the Ettrick Shepherd, and David Bridges, the secretary, clothier, picture-dealer, and director-general of the fine arts in Scotland, as his joking friends dubbed him.2 By an understanding which still regulates some of the Continental art clubs, the drinks were restricted to such as were within the means of all. Here they were limited to ale or whisky-toddy; and Sir William Allan has left a picture of a full meeting of the Dilettanti, in which Nasmyth is seen making an explanatory diagram on the table with his wetted finger. He officiated as chairman at the dinner given to Raeburn when that artist received the honour of knighthood, and at his death was in receipt of an annuity from the Edinburgh Royal Institution. In addition to those already mentioned, he educated his own family in art, more especially his daughters, who also attended to their household duties.

His family consisted of Patrick, the eldest, named after Patrick Miller, born in 1787; Jane, born 1788; Barbara, 1790; Margaret, 1791; Elizabeth, 1793; Anne, 1798; Charlotte, 1804; followed by three sons, Alexander, George, and James; and Mary, who died in her infancy. Of these Alexander was a favourite, who died early in youth, and beside whom, in St Cuthbert's churchyard in Edinburgh, the father was buried in accordance with his desire. The mother died in 1846.

On the death of the artist, Sir David Wilkie wrote to his widow, sympathising with her in the loss of one who was his earliest professional friend, adding: "He was the founder of the landscape school of painting of Scotland, and by his taste and talent has for many years taken a lead in the patriotic aim of enriching his native land with the representations of her romantic scenery; and as the friend and contemporary of Ramsay, Gavin Hamilton, and the Runcimans, may be said to have been the last remaining link that unites the present with the early dawn of the Scottish school of art." He was equally esteemed by his other artist friends, some of whom, including Stanfield and Roberts, he visited in London when placing his son James with Mr Maudsley the engineer. When John Linnell, about 1817, crossed the Border to get married at Gretna Green, and submitted specimens of his work to Nasmyth in Edinburgh, the Scotchman readily augured the brilliant future of that eminent artist. His son relates with just pride how his father in his eightieth year, full of life and intellect, on visiting the scene of his labours at the Bridgewater Foundry, was looked upon by the workmen with veneration as the personal friend of Burns, and chaired from the works to his son's house, where they parted from him with cheers and hearty wishes for his welfare.

Besides his two portraits of Burns, he is represented in the Scottish National Gallery by the important picture of Stirling Castle, in a fine state of preservation the foreground is composed of a large mass of trees and rock, occupying the left-hand side of the picture all in shade, the space between which and the distant castle and hills is filled by a wooded landscape, all beautifully painted with a full confident touch, free, and fine in colour. The well-balanced masses of light and shade, and colour, show the artist's mastery over his materials, and not less successful are a group of figures in the middle foreground. While there is a certain similarity with the work of Hobbema, it must be admitted that the Scotchman is the superior, in being less mechanical and conventional, and more directly suggestive of nature.

Among his six daughters, Anne and Charlotte were the most successful as artists, and painted a number of very pleasing pictures, small in size but good in colour. For some years they had drawing and painting classes in their father's house, which were very popular, and in which their father sometimes gave short lectures on the theory of the art. Anne was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London in 1830; probably it was she who was married to Terry the actor, and referred to thus in the 'Noctes Ambrosiana '-" I believe the best judges are disposed to give Mrs Terry the palm, who now, since the death of her lamented husband, teaches painting in London with eminent success." The picture by Geddes in the National Gallery in London, which contains her portrait, has been already referred to. Mention may also be made of another member of this talented family—that is, David Nasmyth, a cousin, or in some other way related to Alexander: he was an architect, and the classic church of St Andrew, off the Saitmarket of Glasgow, was built from his design.

The art which was so well represented by Alexander Nasmyth was carried to a higher state of perfection by his son Patrick. At a very early age he showed a strong love for landscape- painting, which it is said seriously interfered with his ordinary education. As a youth, he possessed a keen sense of humour, indulged in the reading of old-fashioned novels, was a fair violinist, and so fond of music that he whistled all the time he was at his easel. Having received his entire education in art from his father, whom he sometimes assisted in scene-painting, he went to London in x8o8, immediately after which he began to exhibit in the Royal Academy. Although mostly settled there, he made frequent visits to his native city, and excursions into various parts of England. An ardent admirer of the works of Claude and others of the old masters, he imitated none, but drew his inspiration directly from nature, finding ample material for study in the neighbourhood in which he lived. In 1814 he made the acquaintance of a Mr Barnes, with whom he resided for some time at Ringworth, near Southampton, during which he made numerous sketches in the New Forest. From a similarity of style and treatment of his subjects, he was sometimes called the English Hobbema; but in all the qualities of art he far surpassed the most successful productions of the Dutch masters, and occupied a foremost position in the ranks of British artists. His colour is usually warm in tone, with a keener perception than that possessed by his father, in appreciating the relatively sharper touch of execution in approaching the foreground from the more distant parts. His style, being well finished, precise and delicate in touch, has made forgeries of his numerous works comparatively easy; and thus a large number of the works appearing in auctioneers' catalogues opposite to his name are merely copies or imitations, the production of which has been caused by the high prices obtained for his genuine works.

He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy in London, where in 1811 he showed a View of Loch Katrine; Windsor from Eton, and the Ferry of Inver, in 1812; a View near Epping Forest in 1813 ; Dumbarton Castle from I)alnottar Hill in 1814; a View in the New Forest in x8x,—continuing to exhibit tolerably regularly up till the year before his death, with the exception of the two or three previous years. Writing to his father in 1815, he says,—"The prices of my pictures in the Gallery are, two at fourteen guineas each (small views in Hampshire), one at twelve guineas, and two fourteen guineas. They are all sold but one." These works, as his brother James remarked, would now bring from two to three hundred guineas each in the open market. He was early in his career run after by picture- dealers. Careless in the matter of money, which he very often wanted, it is said that he readily parted with his pictures at much less than their value, when the money offered was placed before him. His friends remonstrated with him in vain, and when the advisability of depositing some of his money in the bank was suggested, he received the advice by pointing to his pictures as a much more convenient one. He caught a severe cold while sketching from nature, in consequence of which he died at Lambeth on the 17th of August 1831, nine years before the death of his father, and at the age of forty-four. His last moments were passed admiring from his deathbed the glories of the setting sun, which had been preceded by a violent thunderstorm. His Glen Shira in the Scottish National Gallery, a fine broken landscape with a waterfall, is a good specimen of his art.

One of the early Scottish landscape-painters now forgotten was G. Walker, who derives his chief claim to being mentioned from the fact that he held the office or dignity of landscape-painter to his Majesty. He is almost exclusively known by the illustrations to Cririe's 'Scottish Scenery,' published in London in 1803, containing twenty fairly executed views not particularly accurate, engraved by \V. Byrne. The preface to this work states that they were painted in crayons from sketches, and "may be seen at Mr Walker's Drawing and Painting Academy, Edinburgh, or in the course of the spring (if not previously disposed of) at Messrs Cadell and Davies's, London .....They are all of a cabinet size, highly finished, and elegantly framed." His name appears in the London Academy catalogue of i800, attached to a View of Dumbarton by Moonlight, and a View of Loch Tay.

Next to Alexander Nasmyth, undoubtedly the artist who most influenced and aided in the development of landscape-painting in Scotland was the minister of Duddingston, the Rev. John Thomson. In nearly all his works, many of which have unfortunately darkened, there is a broad, grand, impressive feeling, conveyed by means of his strong grip of effective masses of light and shadow. He delighted in the representation of the bold headlands of the coasts of his native country, sometimes lashed by stormy waves, and the ruins of feudal strongholds—

"Broad, massive, high, and stretching far,
And held impregnable in war."

These are varied occasionally by such scenes as the Shepherd alludes to in the 'Noctes Ambrosian,' where his works are described as giving "the notion o' a man that had loved nature afore he had studied art, and been let into her secrets, when nane were by but their twa sel's, in neuks where the wimplin burnie plays, in open spats within the woods where you see naething but stems o' trees—stems o' trees—and a flicker o' broken light interspersing itsel' among the shadowy branches,--or without ony concealment, in the middle o' some wide black moss—like the Moor 0' Rannoch—as still as the shipless sea, when the winds are weary —and at nightfall in the weather-gleam o' the settin' sun, a dim object like a ghost, stan'in' alane by its single solitary se'."

Born on the 1st of September 1778, in the manse of Dailly in Ayrshire, and passing his earlier years in that district of Scotland which figured so largely in the medieval history of his country, and afterwards translated to the still more historically interesting and picturesque neighbourhood of Edinburgh, it is not to be wondered at, with his early love for art, that his heart should have been, as Professor Veitch remarks, not only in the scenery but in the story of Scotland. "And we must keep in mind that this impulse, beginning at least in 1808, only three years before the appearance of the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel,' and probably working long before, was not altogether in consequence of the literary work of Scott, but at least contemporary with it, and probably a cause of it, certainly a very helpful auxiliary."

 His grandfather and great-grandfather, as well as his father, having been ministers of the Established Kirk of Scotland, it was thought wise to continue this further succession in the family, and he was accordingly sent to study for the pulpit in the University of Edinburgh, where he received his ministerial licence on attaining his majority. In the following year he began to fill his father's place in the pulpit, and for five years ministered to the spiritual wants of his native place, and also dabbling in painting, having received some lessons from Alexander Nasmyth while in Edinburgh. He began his ministration at Duddingston in 1805, and appeared as an exhibitor at the first exhibition in Edinburgh three years later. On the institution of the Scottish Academy he was elected an honorary member, continuing to contribute as regularly to the following exhibitions as he had done to those which preceded them.

The duties of his profession, as well as the comparatively small extent to which the painters of that time wrought directly from nature, may have prevented him also from doing so; hence we have more frequently an impression of nature rather than a realisation of actual facts and localities. Thus, in his fine view on the Firth of Clyde, he has given us a massive round-towered stronghold in the middle distance, opposed to Dumbarton Rock farther off, the nearest approach to or apology for which is the comparatively commonplace remains of Newark Castle at Port-Glasgow. The studies for his pictures were made from nature in chalk or pencil, sometimes washed with colour, and not unfrequently, like other artists, when tallow-dips were more in use than now, made experiments in light and shade with candle-snuff.' Many of his pictures have given way from toofree a use of asphaltum and megilp, besides the pernicious practice of laying his colours on an insufficiently hardened foundation of "parritch" as he called it, composed of flour boiled with vinegar. To his talent as an artist he added the accomplishments of an elegant classical scholar, was full of quaint humour, and no mean proficient on the violin and the flute. Sir Walter Scott in 1823 writes: "John Thomson of Duddingston has given me his most splendid picture, painted, he says, on purpose for me,—a true Scottish scene. It seems to me that many of our painters shun the sublime of our country by labouring to introduce trees where doubtless by search they might be found, but where certainly they make no conspicuous part of the landscape, being like some little folks who fill up a company, and put you to the proof before you own to have seen them. Now this is Fast Castle, famous both in history and legend. . . . The view looks from the land down on the ragged ruins, a black sky and a foaming ocean beyond them. There is more imagination in the picture than in any I have seen of a long time—a sort of Salvator Rosa's doings." This picture, which is now at Abbotsford, was engraved by Horsburgh for the 'Bride of Lammermoor,' and ranks, along with his Bass Rock, Martyr's Grave, and Dunluce Castle, as one of his finest works.

When the collected edition of Scott's works was first projected, Sir Walter desired that they should be illustrated by Thomson, but was fortunately overruled by Cadell in favour of Turner. While this great artist was in Scotland making sketches for the work, he was Thomson's guest at Duddingston for a few days, in the course of which the minister and Grecian Williams accompanied him to sketch at Craigmillar Castle. Turner, however, moved away from his two companions and sketched apart, and no inducement, even on the part of Mrs Thomson, elicited a sight of his work.' He was equally reticent in expressing any opinion of the minister's pictures, although seemingly full of good-humour; would remark of the dining-room zoall on which one of Thomson's pictures was hung, that "the man 'ho did that could paint"; that Thomson beat him in the matter of frames, in allusion to the masses of gilded composition surrounding the pictures; and finally adding, on passing Duddingston Loch on his departure, "By God, though, I envy you that piece of water!" His works, almost invariably of Scottish scenery, are often to be met with in the mansions of the Scottish gentry, more especially about the Lothians, and they may be said to be quite unknown south of the Tweed, except through the medium of such engravings as those in the 'Provincial Antiquities of Scotland.' The Aberlady Bay, in the Scottish National Gallery, on its exhibition in 1822 made a great impression, and still retains a position as a good work of art. The Royal Scottish Academy possesses a View near Duddingston, the appearance of which some think suggestive of it being a joint production of Thomson and his wife. The latter was also very fond of art, and on her friends asking how on earth she could have thought of marrying the clergyman, she being rich, were answered that they just drew together.

So extensive was Thomson's practice as an artist, that it is said his income from this source alone amounted in one year to 1800; and that, when at the height of his popularity, he counted nine carriages in one forenoon with patrons at his door. We find him mentioned in the 'Life of Lord Jeffrey' as a member of the Friday Club, which he joined in 1807. This was a Club entirely of literary and social characters, meeting weekly, at first on Fridays. The total number of names on the roll amounting to fifty, included, among other celebrities, Sir James Hall, Dugald Stewart, Rev. A. Alison, Henry Brougham, Malcolm Laing, and Professor Pillans. It expired under the fashionable bane of monthly banquets supplementing the modest weekly suppers.

He was twice married: first to Isabella, daughter of the Rev. John Ramsay, minister of Kilmichael in Ayrshire. His second marriage was brought about in a somewhat romantic manner. Fanny, the daughter of Mr Spence, a celebrated London dentist, and widow of Mr Dalrymple of Cleland, when in the shop of a picture-dealer in Edinburgh was much taken by a View of the Fall of Foyers. She made inquiry as to the painter, obtained an introduction, and as she afterwards said, they drew together at once. Besides painting, she was very fond of music, interesting herself in its cultivation among the parishioners and others from Edinburgh. Thomson's eldest son John lost his life on board the Kent, an East Indiarnan, which was burned at sea. He was first mate, and when the fire had overmastered the efforts of the crew to arrest its progress, took the place of the captain, who was helpless from dismay. During the conflagration he had the boats lowered, and managed to save all the passengers and crew; but his heroic conduct in remaining to the last cost him his life, and the burning ship sank with him alone on board.' It is said that when the sad news was communicated to the old man, he wept more at the noble conduct of his brave lad than for sorrow at his loss.

The last work which Thomson exhibited appeared in 1840, in the beginning of which year his health began to decline ; he gradually became worse, and when death was close at hand, had his bed removed near the window so that he might see the setting sun. He slept quietly away on the following morning, in the month of October 1840.

Owing to his conscientious idea that his sacred charge should be his most important occupation, he never became a member of the Scottish Academy, although he was elected an honorary Academician. While the frequent appearance of a deputy preacher in the pulpit, when he was away on some sketching expedition or other, was mentioned in the Presbytery, he was never censured by that body, and never otherwise seems to have neglected his ministerial duties, by which he ingratiated himself with his parishioners, and by whom he was highly esteemed. His influence on the future practice of his art in Scotland was very great, and probably such artists as Horatio M'Culloch and others owed more to his works than even they themselves were conscious of.

Another artist who did much to advance art in Scotland was Hugh William Williams, born in Wales in 1773, and commonly known as Grecian Williams. He resided in Edinburgh for many years prior to his death in 1829, during which time he was intimately associated with art and artists in that city, and was almost exclusively a painter in water-colours. His oil-pictures are few, not very important, and, although broadly, are rather thinly painted, as might be expected from one whose practice had been almost exclusively confined to the more liquid branch of the art. The Shepherd, whom we find so enthusiastic in his praise of Thomson, has also given us his opinion of Williams: "It's impossible to excel Williams—in his ain style—but he should leave the iles and keep to water-colours. In his water-colours, so saft and hazy—sae like the aerial scenery that shifts afore the half-closed een when a midsummer dream has thrown its glamour ower a body sinkin' down to slumber in noonday, within a fairy ring on the hillside—no' a man in Britain will get the heels o' Hugh Williams; and as for the man himsel', I like to look on him, for he's gotten a gran' bald phrenological head, the face o' him's at ance good-natured and intelligent; and o' a' the painters I ken, his mainners seems to be the maist the mainners o' a gentleman and a man o' the world—if he w-ad but gie up makin' auld puns, and be rather less o' the Whig and a wee mair o' the Tory."

He first came into prominence in Edinburgh, where he had already been settled,' as an exhibitor in x8io, and within the two following years published six engravings from views in the Highlands. He afterwards travelled into Italy and Greece, returning about 1818 or 1819. His Views in Greece were issued in numbers between 1827 and 1829, and in 1820 he published an account of his travels, with some engravings from his own drawings, in two octavo volumes, published by Constable. After his return from his travels, he married Miss Miller of Garnock, a lady of fortune as well as of a good family, and mixed in the best society of Edinburgh. In the year 1822 he opened in Edinburgh an exhibition of his water-colour drawings, the results of his tour in the East, the catalogue of which was illustrated by appropriate classical quotations, selected by Pillans and translated mostly by John Brown Paterson. Regarding this exhibition, a critic of the time remarks: "There is room for more unqualified praise than in the works of any single artist in landscape-painting to which this country has yet given birth. The distinguished gentleman who has produced them has long been known, both here and in England, as one of the most beautiful landscape- painters which the island could boast; and the imperfections in colouring which his residence in this northern climate occasioned, have now been removed by the enchanting glow and brilliant skies of Italy and Greece. To the charm of natural beauty he has added the magic of classical association; and by selecting as the subjects of his pencil the most interesting scenes of Grecian history, he has brought before our eyes not merely the spots in nature where she appears in her loveliest forms, but those to which human greatness has attached the most delightful recollections. . . . Where there is so much to admire, it is difficult to specify any piece which possesses peculiar excellence. The two, however, which appear to us to be most perfect, are the Views of the Temple of Minerva Suniurn and of the Parthenon, taken from the pillars of Propylaa. In the first of these, the white marble columns of the temple are projected on a dark cloud, and driving rain is seen descending on the troubled sea in the distance: the only figures in the piece are two pirates emerging from a glen in the foreground, and pointing to a bark which is landing its passengers at a little distance. The second represents the sun setting on the Temple of Minerva, and exhibits the appearance so well known to Grecian travellers, of the shadows of its pillars projected horizontally along the interior of the edifice. The great charm of this painting consists in the general effect which distinguishes it, arising from the breadth of shade which is thrown over the foreground, and the breadth of light which illuminates the distance. Here, as among his other paintings, the architectural edifices are represented with the most scrupulous accuracy; nor do we know of any paintings by any master in which the truth of drawing, in that object, is so well united with the charm of almost ideal beauty."' Among his other pictures, the most important were, the Field of Platea, the Acrocorinthus, View of Etna with the City of Taorminium, the Tombs of Platea by Moonlight, and the Site of the Supposed Gardens of Alcinous in Corfu. He has been described, by one who knew him well, as being warm-hearted and honourable, of singular modesty and almost feminine gentleness. During his last illness, the heroic and gentle cheerfulness with which he endured several months of pain and weakness, under a certainly fatal disease, was a striking example of the power of a gay spirit over the greatest bodily suffering." The same writer adds that he was "delighted with the splendid prospects of art which he saw opening to Scotland; and he urged me to the very last never to relax till I had completed the reformation of the Academy which was then in progress, and which was effected shortly before his death." He has executed one of the best modern views of Edinburgh, from the top of Arthur's Seat, which has been engraved by the late William Millar with his usual excellence. He seems never to have exhibited in the London Academy, but was one of the original members of the Associated Artists in Water- Colour there in 18o8. In the Scottish National Gallery, among other works, are his Temple of Minerva, rising white against a strong sky, with a foreground of waves dashing over some rocks; a fine large View of Florence, in which the great dome near the centre rises against the distant range of grey hills; the Town of Taormina, bathed in warm sunlight, with fragments of broken columns and dancing figures in the foreground; and the massive ruins of Caerphilly Castle, in strongly contrasted light and shadow. His drawings are carefully pencilled in, and treated with broad washes of transparent colour, depending more upon contrasted masses of colour and general tone, rather than the broken tints of the present style of art—a change to a very large extent due to the displacement of the old hard-cake colours by the now popular moist form of pigments.

Hugh W. Williams was called Grecian Williams in allusion to his Grecian pictures, and to distinguish him from John Francis Williams of Perthshire birth, who died in 1846. He went to England in his youth, where he practised for some time as a scene- painter, but returned to Scotland about x8io, when he wrought in the Edinburgh Theatre. Being something of a character in his way, he was a favourite subject with the caricaturists of Auld Reekie. The late Sir Daniel Macnee, who was an inimitable storyteller and full of old reminiscences, was fond of giving imitations of his sayings and doings, but latterly dropped these out of his réj5ertoire-they belonged to a past generation, and there were few remaining of his contemporaries who could remember his characteristics. He first exhibited in Edinburgh in 1811, and was one of the foundation members of the Scottish Academy, for which he was treasurer for seven years. The name of "Williams, Edinburgh," appears in the London Royal Academy Catalogue for 1800, as the painter of a View of Loch Tay; and in 1823, more definitely, J. F. Williams, Edinburgh, is put down as the exhibitor of the Cape on Red-Head in Angusshire, and a View near Gosford. He is represented in the Scottish National Gallery by a Storm Scene on the Ayrshire Coast.
Another artist who somewhat resembled Grecian Williams in his classic taste was Andrew Wilson, born in Edinburgh in 1780, and connected with one of the many families residing there who had suffered from their Jacobite adherence. After some education in art under the elder Nasmyth, he was sent to London at the age of seventeen to study at the Royal Academy, and a few years afterwards went to Italy at some little personal risk, owing to the serious Continental troubles then existing. While pursuing his studies at Rome, he made the acquaintance of the wealthy picture-collector Mr Champernon, and Mr James Irving, who was an artist as well as a collector, a pursuit into which many were tempted owing to the disturbed state of affairs. Here he commenced the study of ancient art, and afterwards brought home with him many sketches of architectural monuments, and similar subjects about Naples as well as Rome. Immediately on his return, perceiving the commercial advantage of also acquiring pictures, he set off again for Italy in 1803, and after considerable difficulty succeeded in reaching Genoa, where be obtained the protection of the American consul, in the character of an American citizen. He remained some three years in Genoa, where he was elected a member of the Ligurian Academy of Arts. He was also fortunate in the main object of his mission, as he succeeded in acquiring fifty-four pictures, among which were Rubens' Moses and the Brazen Serpent, purchased from Signor Lorenzo Marana for 17,500 livres, now in the National Gallery in London; and Titian's Adoration of the Magi, now in the Scottish National Gallery. It is related of him that while at Genoa, in his capacity as member of the Academy, among others, he attended Napoleon on his visit to their exhibition. While Bonaparte stood before one of Wilson's pictures, one of the artists near him volunteered the unnecessary information that it was the work of an Englishman; upon which he received the sharp retort, "Le talent n'a pas de pays." He returned with his pictures through Germany to London, where he practised water-colour painting, and after his marriage was appointed a professor of drawing in the Military College of Sandhurst. At the Royal Academy, as the result of his first visit to Italy, he exhibited the Temple at Tivoli; a View of Valle Pietro in the Apennines; and an Italian View. In 1812 he exhibited there no less than eight works, and five Italian subjects in the following year. He resigned his appointment at Sandhurst in 18r8, on receiving that of master of the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh, where he did good service in the early training of artists who subsequently rose to eminence in their profession, among whom were Robert Scott Lauder, D. 0. Hill, and William Simson, besides extending the collection of casts commenced there by John Graham. He remained in Edinburgh in this capacity for eight years, after which he removed with his family to Italy, and passed other eleven between Rome, Genoa, and Florence, engaged in painting, and in collecting pictures for Sir Robert Peel, the Earls of Pembroke, Hopetoun, and others, sometimes acting thus in conjunction with Wilkie, who had a high estimation of his judgment. He sent at this time twenty-seven Vandykes to England, and had an important part in the selection of many of the pictures by the old masters belonging to the Royal Institution in the Scottish National Gallery. He died of paralysis during a visit to England, when on the eve of returning to join his family at Genoa, on the 27th November 1848.

Andrew Wilson's most successful works were in water-colour, although he was also an excellent painter in oil. These are of great beauty and truth, and he possessed much taste in the delineation of classic and other architectural features, which usually form an important part of his pictures. He is perhaps best known by his Continental subjects, although he sometimes painted Scottish scenes. His architectural proclivities, while giving his drawing a certain style, sometimes led him into too free a use of horizontal and vertical forms, giving his work a slight feeling of artifice; but his oil-pictures are often free of any trace of this—being broadly treated, full of atmosphere, unconventional, and in exquisite taste. His pencil-drawings are remarkable for their precision and delicacy, and he is favourably represented in the Scottish National Gallery. He was one of the original members of the Associated Artists in Water-Colour in London. His son, the late Charles Heath Wilson, was for some time connected with the Trustees' Academy as a teacher of ornament and design, and in conjunction with Dyce inaugurated the system of National Art Instruction now controlled by South Kensington. After some service in that department in London, he filled the office of head-master in the Glasgow School of Design, and on his retirement from that position, practised for some years as an architect, finally retiring to Florence, where he died. He was a clever sketcher in watercolour, somewhat after the manner of his father, and also possessed of some literary talent, his chief performance in that way being a Life of Michael Angelo. Some of his family are now following art in London.

Another artist of the same surname, but no relation, John Wilson, familiarly known as "Old Jock" to distinguish him from his son, who was a landscape-painter, was born in Ayr in August 1774, and attained considerable distinction as a free and bold painter of marine subjects. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to Norrie the decorator, and either during or after his apprenticeship had some lessons from Alexander Nasmyth, this being his entire art education beyond what he picked up in the shop. About 1796 he went to Montrose, where for nearly two years he taught drawing, after which he removed to London, and some fourteen years later got married to Miss Williams. He was employed as a scene-painter at Astley's, and began to exhibit successfully so early as 1807 at the Royal Academy, followed up in succeeding years by Scotch and English landscape subjects, such as the Falls of Clyde, Bothwell Castle, Lambeth Marsh, &c., and was also an exhibitor at the British Institution, of which he was one of the early and long-adhering members. He painted a Battle of Trafalgar in unsuccessful competition for the premiums offered by the British Institution, which was purchased by Lord Northwick. Although resident in London, lie was a regular exhibitor at the Scottish Academy, of which he was an honorary member. He had a good reputation for the class of subject which he painted, this being almost exclusively confined to the sea and shipping, and his works are esteemed of some value.' He was gifted with great conversational power, a retentive memory, and a keen observation. His son, John W. Wilson, excelled mostly in landscape and farmyard scenes with cattle, &c. Both died at Folkestone, the father in April 1855, and the son on the 3oth January 1875, at the age of fifty-seven.

Two Scottish artists of some note link the two centuries, and the two countries separated nominally by the silver Tweed: these were the brothers Schetky. John Christian Schetky, the elder, was born in 1778 in Edinburgh, and educated at the High School contemporaneous with Sir Walter Scott. He is said to have been one of Nasmyth's pupils, and was early in his life connected with scene-painting. In r8ox he left Edinburgh for the Continent— it is not mentioned how long he remained there, but it must have been for some considerable time, as he is stated to have walked all the way from Paris to Rome; and after his return resided at Oxford, where he practised as an art-teacher. In r8o8 he was appointed professor of drawing at the Royal Military College at Marlow, afterwards at the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, and the East India College at Addiscombe, from which he retired in 1855 He made his debut at the Royal Academy in London in 1806, with three pictures (no address), one entitled a Sea-Piece, and each of the others a View. The following year he exhibited a drawing, and in 1821 five marine subjects, sent from the Royal Naval College. He was an exhibitor pretty steadily after this, and in 1825 the names of both brothers were attached to the Brune taking the French Frigate Oiseau in 1768. Among his other works may be mentioned a large Battle of La Hogue, exhibited at the Westminster Hall competition of 1847 ; the Rescue of a Spanish Man-of-war, in the United Service Club in London; and the Sinking of the Royal George, in the National Gallery,—to which may be added a Sea-Piece, in the Scottish National Gallery, illustrative of the disasters which occurred to a British fleet on its return from the Baltic in the seventeenth century. These works are of course in oil, in the practice of which his reputation may be said entirely to rest. He spent some little time with his brother in the Peninsular campaign in 1813-14, and died in London in January 1874, exhibiting even after he had attained the venerable age of ninety years. As an author he is known by his 'Veterans of the Sea' and 'A Cruise on Scottish Waters,' and was designated Marine Painter to his Majesty and H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence, which appointment he held when the Duke ascended the throne, and was continued by our present Queen. It has been truly remarked that a gallery of John Schetky's works would contain some of the most stirring naval incidents which occurred during his long professional career.

John's younger brother, John Alexander Schetky, who is mostly known by his water-colour drawings, was also a native of Edinburgh, born in 1785, and educated for the medical profession, afterwards serving creditably as staff-surgeon in the Portuguese forces under Lord Beresford Hope. He had an early liking for art, and during his fatiguing service with the army, found time to do a little sketching, one of the results of which was a Recollection of the Sierra da Estrella, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821. About 1814 he resumed the study of art in Edinburgh, which he had previously begun, probably with his brother, and afterwards executed some drawings illustrative of the scenery made classic by the writings of the Wizard of the North. Some three years after exhibiting the Sierra da Estrella at the Academy, he exhibited several Portuguese scenes at the Water-Colour Society's exhibition in London. It is believed that he died in Portsmouth about the time when the picture above referred to by himself and his brother was sent in to the Academy's exhibition. Neither of these artists can be said to have directly influenced the advancement of their art in Scotland, as they were resident there for too short a time—it may be said regarding the elder brother, during none of his professional career. They were the sons of Christoff Schetky, a musician who came to Edinburgh in 1772, and played the violoncello in the Edinburgh Musical Society.

Although not of Scottish birth, the erring John W. Ewbank cannot be omitted from the roll of Scottish artists, on account of his long residence in Edinburgh, his intimate association with Scottish art, and his early and close connection with the Academy in the very dawn of its existence. He was born in Gateshead in Newcastle in 1799, and having early lost his parents, was adopted in his infancy by a wealthy uncle living at Wycliffe, who put him to study at Ushaw College for the Roman Catholic ministry, from whence he absconded and apprenticed himself to a house-painter of the name of Coulson in Newcastle. Ewbank accompanied Coulson on the removal of the business to Edinburgh, where his master, recognising his talent, permitted him to receive some instruction from Alexander Nasmyth. He exhibited several pictures during his apprenticeship, at the close of which he embarked on the troubled waters of art, setting out by teaching, and painting numerous small-sized pictures of coast and river scenes, besides doing drawings, such as views of Edinburgh, for Lizars the engraver. He was one of the original members, and took an enthusiastic part in the promotion of the Society of Artists' exhibitions, during the same time painting several pictures of more ambition than merit, such as the Entry of Alexander the Great into Babylon, the Visit of George IV. to Edinburgh, and Hannibal crossing the Alps. His pictures consisted of sea-pieces and landscapes, of great simplicity, full of clear and very charming colour, the most successful of which were of a small size. The high qualities and attractive merits of his pictures readily secured numerous purchasers, and he painted so rapidly that in one year his income was said to have reached £2500. His great success, however, was the cause of his ruin, and from the tenant of an elegant home in which he was surrounded by his family, in a very short time became the occupant of a cellar, painting, on a bare window-sill for want of an easel, pictures knocked off in an hour or two, which were often sold in his poor home or carried while wet to some place of common resort. He exhibited in London at the Royal Academy in 1832, Fishing Boats going out, and a Heath Scene. Six years later he forfeited his membership in the Scottish Academy, and so complete was his descent that his former fellow-artist Sir Daniel Macnee saw him reduced almost to a state of destitution in Newcastle. His death was occasioned by an attack of typhus fever, and he expired in the public infirmary on the 28th November 1847.

Other two of the foundation members of the Royal Scottish Academy who carried on the branch of landscape-painting were Patrick Gibson and Robert Gibb. Gibson was born in 1782, studied for some time at the Trustees' Academy, receiving also, it is said, some instruction from Alexander Nasmyth, and was an exhibitor at the first Edinburgh exhibition, of landscapes in oil somewhat in the manner of Claude. He was of some literary capacity, and contributed an article to the 'Edinburgh Annual Register' of 1816, entitled "A View of the Arts of Design." In 1817 appeared the advertisement—" Select Views of Edinburgh; consisting chiefly of prospects that have presented themselves, and public buildings that have been erected in the course of the recent improvements of the city, accompanied with historical and explanatory notices, etched by Patrick Gibson, 4to, £1 1s." He died in 1830. Gibb, an excellent landscape-painter in his less ambitious efforts, was a native of Dundee, and died after a short career, in 1837. In the 'Noctes Ambrosian' he is thus referred to: "That young chiel Gibb hits aff a simple scene o' nature to the nines,—a bit dub o' water, aiblins—a footpath—a tree—a knowe—a coo—and a bairn; yet oot o' sic slender materials the chiel contrives to gie a character to the place in a way that proves him tae hae the gift o' genius."  Notwithstanding this praise, however, his work is inclined to be rather hard and forced in effect—a little Dutch-like, but evidently looking intently at nature, and very inferior to the work of Ewbank in subtlety of art expression.

Among other minor landscape-painters of the early part of the present century may be noticed John A. Gilfillan, who sometimes introduced figures into his pictures with much success. At one time a naval officer, he settled down to the profession of an artist in Glasgow, where he produced some excellent work, and had a hand in the advancement of art by teaching in the Andersonian University there about 1837, at the same time contributing to the local exhibitions. He latterly went to New Zealand to follow farming, but during a temporary absence from home, the natives made an inroad on his little homestead and massacred his family. Thence he went to Melbourne, where he obtained an appointment in the Post-office. Robinson Crusoe's First Trip on the Raft, in the Glasgow Corporation Galleries, a good picture, is a favourable specimen of his work.

Regarding the art of water-colour painting, an artist little known beyond Glasgow who contributed in no small degree to the advancement of that branch in Scotland, was Andrew Donaldson. He was a native of Comber, near Belfast, from whence he was brought when very young to Glasgow, where his father found employment in Houldsworth's mill in Hutchesontown. Young Andrew was also employed there for a few years, but owing to an accident which enfeebled his health he left the mill, and was for a short time employed in a haberdasher's shop, which he again left to pursue the profession of an artist. Like so many others, he was infected by the picturesque manner of the works of Prout, but very soon struck out into an independent style, and travelled over a great part of Scotland, producing drawings which are still appreciated for their breadth and freedom. While practising as a teacher, he was a most prolific painter, and contributed no fewer than twelve works to the first exhibition of the Dilettanti Society in Glasgow in 1828. He died on the 21st of August 1846.

William Anderson, born in 1757, had some reputation in his day also as a water-colour painter, chiefly of marine subjects, and is representative of the transition of style in that art. He was originally a shipwright in Scotland, but went to London, where he was employed as a marine-draughtsman, practising his art at the same time with so much success that he became an exhibitor at the Royal Academy. His early pictures were executed in the old monochrome manner, washed with colour, but he latterly adopted the more modern style of the art. He occasionally attempted oil-painting, but with no great success, and died in 1837. His subjects were mostly river and coast scenes with boats and shipping: his name appears attached to two such works in the Newhall House list. Probably the earliest water-colour painter of Scottish birth was the celebrated architect Robert Adam (1728-1792), who has left some landscapes in the manner of the period: they are drawn in pen-and-ink, washed over with colour, and are said to be distinguished by a luxuriousness of effective light and shade.

Henry Aston Barker has claims to be noticed among the landscape-painters of Scottish birth, on account of the great excellence to which he carried the art of panoramic painting. He was born in Glasgow in 1774, and named Aston after his mother, the daughter of an Irish physician. His father Robert, who was of Irish birth, was a portrait and miniature painter practising in Edinburgh, where he also taught drawing, and where about the year 1786, aided by his son Henry, then a mere child, he painted a panorama of Edinburgh on the system of curvilinear perspective, which he invented, and applied to a concave surface, so as to appear level from a certain station-point. He took his invention to London, where he patented it; and notwithstanding the discouraging opinion expressed on seeing it by Sir Joshua Reynolds, he returned to Edinburgh to persevere in perfecting it, in which he was aided by pecuniary and other assistance from Lord Elcho. The result was a circular View of Edinburgh, 25 feet in diameter, successfully exhibited there and in Glasgow. He again left for London with his son Henry, and exhibited it in 1789 at No. 28 Haymarket, after which Henry executed a panoramic view of the Thames with the Lord Mayor's procession, an etching of which he made and published in six folio sheets. This view was exhibited in 1792 in a rough back-building in Leicester Square, and was a marked success. In the following year he leased some ground in Leicester Place, on which he erected a large building for his exhibitions, and at the same time the father and son commenced a panoramic view of the British Fleet off Spithead, shown to the public in 1794, after having been graced by a private visit from the king and queen and their family. In 1802, Henry's elder brother, Thomas Edward, who had also assisted in the work, entered into partnership with R. R. Reinagle, who was then one of the em- ployees, and erected a rival affair in the Strand, which, fourteen years afterwards, was bought up by Henry and Mr Burford, Reinagle receiving a sum of money, and Thomas and his wife an annuity. Soon after settling in London, Henry attended the classes of the Royal Academy, and on his father's death in i8o6 became sole executor, and provided for his mother and sisters agreeably to the conditions of his father's will. Prior to this Henry had travelled a great deal, making drawings for various panoramas in Turkey, Sicily, Denmark, and France. He met Lord Nelson at Palermo, and afterwards at Copenhagen. During the Peace of Amiens he was introduced to the First Consul as "Citoyen" Barker, an interview which was repeated at Elba after Napoleon's abdication. He was largely assisted by Burford, who did the drawings for the panoramas of the Spanish campaigns, and who also accompanied Henry to Venice, the panorama of which, exhibited in 1819, was their joint production. Three years later, his last panorama, representing the coronation procession of George IV., was exhibited.

He was married in 1802 to Harriet Maria, the eldest of six daughters of Rear-Admiral Bligh, and left two sons—the Rev. Henry Barker, vicar of Weare, Somersetshire, and William Bligh Barker, who was brought up to the medical profession, but afterwards followed art—besides two daughters. He was an exceedingly hard worker, and emulated the celebrated Dr Hunter in early rising; his manners were gentlemanly, and his conversation was always interesting. The panoramas which he exhibited were not only characterised by great artistic merit, but no pains were spared to make them accurate; and for this purpose he made special visits to the localities of the battles and other incidents represented, questioning and receiving verbal details from the officers who were present at the various engagements. It is related of his picture of Malta, that it appeared so real that a Newfoundland dog, deceived by the appearance of the water, leaped into the picture. His death occurred in London on the 26th February 1856.

David Roberts, the eminent painter of architectural subjects, was by far the most important successor to Nasmyth, and the most distinguished in that branch of art which the Scottish school has produced. He was the son of a poor shoemaker at Stockbridge, in the northern suburbs of Edinburgh, born on the 24th October 1796, and sent to a "penny schule" in the neighbourhood, in which his education cost three or four pence a-week. He was transferred, at the age of eight, to another school, where the three R's were mercilessly hammered into him by the tawse or a cane, in the process of which his legs were sometimes almost flayed. His early love for art was indicated by an attempt to draw at home, from memory, the outside pictures which he had seen on a travelling menagerie, or "wild beast show" as it is called; but no doubt the bias to his future taste was due to his mother, to whom he was devotedly attached, who was in the habit of relating to him the appearance and traditions of the monastic remains and venerable cathedral of her native St Andrews.

When the period arrived at which he had to begin to earn a living, a lady having accidentally seen some of his drawings, submitted them to John Graham of the Trustees' Academy, for that gentleman's opinion and advice. Being made aware of the circumstances of the family, Graham wisely advised that he should be put to the house-painting business, and he was accordingly apprenticed to Gavin Beugo, who had at one time been a heraldic painter. His indenture lasted for seven years, beginning at 2s. per week; and to long hours, little pay, and hard work, was added the fitful tyranny of an exacting master. Some little solacement, however, was afforded him in the workshop, by coming-in contact with William Kidd, who was equally enthusiastic in art, and a senior workman named Mitchell, who is said to have largely assisted him with advice and instruction. The two latter had started a small life-class, which David joined, but their limited means prevented them from paying a model. They took their turn in sittings, which they sometimes varied by a donkey, and afterwards ventured on a kind of exhibition of their works, to which Roberts contributed a large picture of the Battle of Trafalgar. These humble though not unambitious exhibitions were continued for three or four years, and at the termination of his apprenticeship Roberts went to Perth, where he was employed by a decorator named Conway, who had been brought from London to do some work at Scone Palace. In the following year he returned to Edinburgh, where he was engaged by a Mr Bannister, then opening a circus there, who was so pleased with his assistant that he engaged him to go to England at 25s. a week. The circus, which was to perform at the various places through which it passed, left Edinburgh in April 1816; but Roberts soon got so disgusted with his associates, that he left the caravan, and walked forward alone as far as Hawick. The company made a short stay at Carlisle, and also at Newcastle, where, in addition to his scenic employment, he took part in the performances, on one occasion playing with some relish the part of a barber in a Pantomime. The company failed on arriving at York; and having made a drawing of the fine old minster, he returned to Edinburgh, after about a year's absence. He was next employed in the capacity of foreman-decorator at a mansion being erected at Abercairney, but left the employment of the Perth painter who was engaged to carry out the work, returning again to Edinburgh, chiefly at the desire of his parents. After some further service of the same kind under a more appreciative master, who, however, found little of a higher class of work for him than graining wood, he again took to scene-painting, and subsequently entered into an engagement with Mr Mason of the Glasgow Theatre Royal, receiving 3os. a-week. With the exception of one week's attendance at the Trustees' Academy, under Andrew Wilson—who sometimes took credit for a portion of his art instruction—and with which he was dissatisfied, his art education was entirely confined to what he could pick up, or had been communicated to him by his associates. On arriving in Glasgow, he was laid down by an attack of fever, and the doctor who had been called in, exacted all the money he possessed—some 30s.—in payment of his fee for attendance, in consequence of which a remittance had to be begged from his mother. The scenery in this theatre, already alluded to as painted by Nasmyth, excited his admiration to such an extent, that it had a very great influence in the formation of his future style of painting. Shortly afterwards he returned to Edinburgh; and in 1820, finding himself earning £2 a-week, off which he had to pay a boy's wages, he got married. The theatrical company in Edinburgh with which he was now connected had to be wound up; it was a travelling one: his salary was paid at irregular intervals, and he had to walk back all the way from Dumfries to Edinburgh.

In 1822 he began to exhibit by contributing three pictures to the exhibition then held under the auspices of the Royal Institution in Edinburgh: these consisted of the Foot of the Cowgate (a bit of Old Edinburgh), the Interior of Newby Abbey, and a View of the Netherbow. He also contributed to the three succeeding exhibitions, and off the profits of the sales of two or three pictures at 50s. each, and the savings from his wages of 37s. 6d. per week, contrived to furnish a little house. He also found time, after his working hours, to further add to his meagre income by doing some bits of scenery for Mr Alexander of the Glasgow Theatre. He went to London about 1822, where he was offered a situation by the eccentric Elliston of Drury Lane, through the good offices of a Mr Barrymore, and a few weeks afterwards returned to Edinburgh for the purpose of assisting his wife in the removal of their furniture.

In London he again associated with Clarkson Stanfield, whose acquaintance he had made at the Glasgow Theatre Royal, and with whom he was admitted a member of the newly instituted Society of British Artists, to whose exhibitions he for some time contributed, but afterwards with a number of the leading artists withdrew from, partly on account of its unsatisfactory management. His scenery at Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatres, painted in conjunction with Stanfield, has been spoken of in the very highest terms. During this time he first exhibited at the Royal Academy, in 1826, a View of Rouen Cathedral, followed next year by the Entrance to the Church of St Germains at Amiens, and the Shrine in 1830. These were painted from sketches made in the year 1824, during a brief journey to the north of France in company with John Wilson. His high abilities as a scene-painter now came to be recognised, and in Dublin he earned £'°° by painting fourteen scenes in as many days. Along with Stanfield, he also about the same time executed a panorama for a Mr Laidlaw for Continental exhibition, and when he left off scene-painting finally, he was in receipt of £10 per week for six working days of six hours each.

His patronage by Lord Northwick commenced by that nobleman's purchase of a picture in 1825, after which he soon began to see his way to fairly set himself off as an artist. He sent the Chapel of St Jacques at Dieppe to the first exhibition of the Scottish Academy, and had a month's trip to Paris, after which he produced his fine picture of the Israelites leaving Egypt (1829): this he sent, against the advice of Lord Northwick, to the Suffolk Street Gallery, which he afterwards regretted. The following year he set off on a trip up the Rhine, but went no farther than Cologne, on account of the disturbed state of the country, arising from the French Revolution. In the same year his picture of the Israelites, which belonged to Lord Northwick, was exhibited in the Scottish Academy, and he was elected president of the Suffolk Street Exhibition.

His first extensive Continental travel was undertaken in 1832, when he visited and sketched in the principal old Moorish and other towns of Spain, remaining for some time at Seville on the advice of his friend Sir William Allan, and where he painted several pictures, notably the Interior of the Cathedral during Corpus Christi Day, and the Tower of the Giralda, both of which appeared in the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition. He returned to England in the following year, after which he painted, among other fine Spanish subjects, the Chapel of Ferdinand and Isabella at Granada, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836, and purchased by the celebrated Mr Beckford. At this time he placed his name on the list of candidates for admission to the Academy; and as, according to the regulations, no member of any other exhibiting art institution in London was eligible for election, he resigned his connection with the Society of British Artists in Suffolk Street, paying his fine of one hundred pounds, and a like sum for his share of the liabilities: his friend Stanfield had already ceased his Suffolk Street connection, being also dissatisfied with the management. He was elected Associate in 1838. Another result of his Spanish journey was four of the volumes of the 'Landscape Annuals,' besides a large folio volume—many of the illustrations in which were lithographed by his own hand. Among his other works of the same class may be mentioned the very charming illustrations to Bulwer Lytton's 'Pilgrims of the Rhine,' executed in 1832, which were originally intended for one of the popular Annuals. The story was written for the illustrations, instead of the usual method of making the drawings to illustrate the text.

In the year of his election as Associate of the Academy, he set out on his artistic tour in Egypt and the Holy Land, being away about eleven months. He bore with him letters of introduction from the Foreign Office to Colonel (afterwards General) Campbell, consul-general for Egypt at Cairo, by whom and other officials he was kindly received. He ascended the Nile in a boat provided by the consul-general, accompanied by another in which was Colonel Nelley and Mr Vandenhorst, a West Indian friend of the latter, both of whom on reaching the second cataract became blind by ophthalmia, Roberts remaining unaffected. He returned to Cairo in December, where the news of his election into the Academy first reached him; and in February, accompanied by J. Pell and J. W. Kinnear, crossed the Desert by way of Suez and Petra, with a caravan of twenty-one camels, tents, &c. Mr Kinnear parted company at Gaza, and Robert arrived at Jerusalem at Easter, when the pilgrims were congregating to witness the descent of the holy fire, and to perform their ablutions in the Jordan. The drawings which he made on this tour were submitted on his return to Alderman Moon, who arranged to reproduce them as a work illustrative of Scripture history, and agreed to pay the artist £3000 for the copyright and the superintendence of the lithographs, which were to be executed by Louis Haghe. On this work these two artists were occupied for nearly eight years—the result of which was, that the 'Holy Land and Egypt' became one of the greatest achievements ever attempted in lithography, and for which the publisher received many distinguishing honours from different monarchs, including a sacred order of merit from the Pope. Although the cost of its production is said to have amounted to £50,000, it yielded a good profit to the publishers. This enormous expenditure, however, was gradual —the work being published in parts, the first of which appeared in the spring of 1842. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1841, after which he made other two visits to the Continent-first to the north of France, and afterwards to Belgium. In 1849 he completed his great picture of Jerusalem, exhibited in different towns in Scotland and England. Owing to the injuries it thus sustained, he sold it to a dealer for £500, although he had previously refused double that sum. In this year he again visited Belgium in company with Louis and Charles Haghe, who also accompanied him in a tour to Scotland, and subsequently spent some time in Italy, to which he made a second visit as far as Rome with the Haghes. While in Scotland in 1858, he was presented by the Town Council of Edinburgh with the freedom of the city, and was entertained at dinner by the Royal Scottish Academy, under the presidency of Sir John Watson Gordon. He made his last Continental trip to Belgium in 1861, and after revisiting his native country, died suddenly in London on the 25th November 1864, and was buried in Norwood Cemetery. His wife had preceded him to her grave by several years, and their only child was married to Mr Henry Bicknell.

His friend Mr James Ballantine, in a careful memoir, from which much of this notice is extracted, enumerates 279 pictures with their prices and other details. The largest sum he ever received for a picture was £700 for the Temple of the Sun, Baalbec (1861); and some of his works have tripled their original price since his death : seven which he painted for E. Bicknell for £1045, brought at the sale of that collection over £4300. A Spanish sketch, originally sold to Jennings of the Annuals for £20, brought £430, lOS., and another £262, 10s. After his death Mrs Bicknell exhibited his remaining works, and having selected those which she wanted to retain, 1100 lots were sold by Christie for over £16,000. Of 75 drawings on tinted paper made in Spain in 1833, which were exhibited in the German Gallery in Bond Street in 1860, a large number were sold in that year by the same auctioneer for an average of about £50 each. Within the last few years the commercial value of this class of his work has considerably diminished, having long been made a kind of speculation by dealers and auctioneers.

In addition to the published works already mentioned, there is to be added his contributions to 'Scotland Delineated,' published in 1847. Of the few composition pictures which he painted, the most important are the Departure of the Israelites from Egypt, engraved in mezzotint by Quiller; and the Destruction of Jerusalem, splendidly lithographed by Louis Haghe, and which was the last work executed in lithography by that artist.

His diploma picture at the Royal Academy is Baalbec. In the Academy of his native city he is represented by his large picture of Rome, presented by the artist in 1857, and for which a silver medal accompanied the thanks of the Academy. The picture is 14 feet in length, and represents a sunset from the convent of St Onofrio, the terrace and steps of which, with a group of pines and a garden, occupy the left-hand side of the foreground. It is if anything rather thinly painted in proportion to its size, and, like most of his other extensive views, wanting in atmospheric effect when compared with his interiors, very notably that of the rich old church of St Paul at Antwerp. His sketches, however, contain this quality of atmosphere in a very eminent degree; and those engraved for the Annuals, and other such publications, rank only second to the similar works by Turner.

In 1877, two pictures, the Nave of St Stephen's at Venice, and a Street in Antwerp, said to have been valued at £1150, the joint gift of Mr E. Bedford and Mr Bryan Doukin, co-executors of the late Mrs Bunnings, were presented to the Guildhall Library. It was stated at the time that they had been offered to the London National Gallery, and declined by the trustees as not being of sufficient excellence to represent the artist.'

Few artists have ever approached Roberts in his delineation of architectural subjects, more especially Gothic. In his very noble interiors of medieval cathedrals, invariably animated by well-disposed groups of figures, the quality of height and space is most successfully managed by the gradual losing of detail in line, form, and colour, as the columns ascend towards the ceiling or become indefinite in the distance. In his wealth of resource, beauty of colour and finish, and breadth of effect, he is unequalled; while he had the rare power of sometimes making an unfortunate architectural feature an effective and appropriate part of the general pictorial effect. The interior of the Dixmude Chapel, one of his last exhibited works, is a very noble example of one of the richest existing specimens of flamboyant architecture in Belgium. His art was recognised at the Paris International Exhibition of 1855, by the award of a gold medal and the favourable notices of the Parisian critics.

He etched in a good manner a number of Scottish architectural subjects, of which he contemplated making a complete series, for the purpose of publishing, accompanied by historical and descriptive notes. His water-colour sketches are much sought after and highly valued. lie generally executed them on tinted paper, and their careful pencilling are fine examples of incisiveness of line and precision of touch, admirably suited for reproduction by engraving. [1]


Return to Book Index Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast