• ALLAN RAMSAY (1713 – 1784) Portrait of Ruth Trevor (1712-1764) c.1740 oil on canvas 76 x 63.5 cm 30 x...

    ALLAN RAMSAY (1713 – 1784)

    Portrait of Ruth Trevor (1712-1764)


    oil on canvas

    76 x 63.5 cm      30 x 25 inches



    Bourne Fine Art, Edinburgh, 2011; private collection, France


    Bourne Fine Art, Five Centuries of Scottish Portraiture, Edinburgh, July-September 2011, no.7


    A. Smart, Allan Ramsay: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings (New Haven and London, 1999) pp. 197 and 232, no. 548, ill. 69


    After Ramsay’s return from Italy in 1738 his confidence soared. It is recorded that he told Alexander Cunyngham that he has “put all your Vanlois and Soldis and Ruscos to flight and now play the first fiddle myself.” Shortly after returning, he painted this portrait and Joseph van Aken, a Flemish artist and drapery painter who spent most of his career in England, was called on to paint the red dress and white satin robe. Such was the competition for van Aken’s work between Ramsay and Thomas Hudson they each offered him eight hundred guineas a year for exclusive rights to his services. He was held in high esteem by many artists of the time – Hogarth called him “the tailor”. Ramsay records the features of the sitter, Ruth Trevor, with delicate precision. The striking red silk dress enhances her flushed cheeks, lending her a demure and intimate air.


    Ruth was the younger daughter of John Morley Trevor (1681–1719) of Trefalyn and Glynde, Denbighshire, and his wife Lucy Montague (1678–1720), sister of George Montague, 4th Earl of Halifax. There is another portrait (three-quarter length) of Ruth Trevor by Ramsay dated 1748.

  • SIR HENRY RAEBURN ra (1756 – 1823) Portrait of Dr. Benjamin Bell (1749-1806) c.1791 oil on canvas 76 x 63.5...

    SIR HENRY RAEBURN ra (1756 – 1823)

    Portrait of Dr. Benjamin Bell (1749-1806)


    oil on canvas

    76 x 63.5 cm      30 x 25 inches



    Christie's, 30 May 1930, lot 106; Frost and Reed; Ehrich Gallery sale, American Art Association/Anderson Galleries, New York, 2 April 1931, lot 71; where purchased by Mrs M.H. Hill, New York; by whom sold at Parke-Bernet, New York, 26 May 1943, lot 88; where purchased by Julius Weitzner; Gump's Gallery, San Francisco, 1944; T.G.Broullette, New York, October 1954; Ralph M. Rounds, Wichita, 1954; with Sir J.E. Johnston-Ferguson at an unknown date; Sotheby's New York, 20 July 1995, lot 19; Dickinson Roundell, New York, 2008; Bourne Fine Art, Edinburgh, 2008; private collection, France


    Sir Walter Armstrong, Sir Henry Raeburn (London & New York 1901) pg. 96; James Greig, 'Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A.: his life and works, with a catalogue of his pictures', The Connoisseur (London 1911) pg. 38; David Mackie, Raeburn, Life and Art, PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh (1993) IV pp. 170-1


    Benjamin Bell is considered to be the first Scottish scientific surgeon. He published many medical works of significance, notably his textbook, A System of Surgery (six volumes written between 1783 and 1788) which became a best seller throughout Europe and America. A line engraving of this portrait by W. and J. Walker was published in 1791 as a frontispiece to one of the seven English editions that were to be published (there were also to be French, Spanish, German, Italian and three American editions). Bell’s main contribution to surgical practice was his adage “save skin” which led to improved rates of wound healing in operations.  He was also an early advocate of routine pain relief in surgery.

  • Bell trained at the University of Edinburgh and became a fellow of the College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1770; two years later he was appointed surgeon to the Royal Infirmary. His tutelage was under some of the most inspiring medical teachers of the day such as the anatomist Alexander Monro (1733-1817), the chemist Joseph Black (1728-99) and the botanist John Hope (1725-86). Encouraged by his tutors, he also visited London and Paris to observe the latest methods. 


    Interestingly, however, Raeburn does not represent Bell with any accessories that might define him as a surgeon. Bell is fresh-faced and ruddy-cheeked. His powdered wig and grey curls are echoed in the white cotton frills of his collar and cuffs. The black coat and waistcoat are painted by Raeburn with characteristic virtuosity in the play of light and shadow.


  • JOHN KNOX (1778 – 1845) Mountains and wooden bridge in the Trossachs oil on canvas 64 x 89.5 cm 25...

    JOHN KNOX (1778 – 1845)

    Mountains and wooden bridge in the Trossachs

    oil on canvas

    64 x 89.5 cm      25 x 35 inches



    Private collection, England


    The dramatic light at the end of the day allowed Knox to give full three-dimensional form to the mountains and to spotlight the kilted man and lady in the foreground. This oil relates to a small, grey wash and pencil work on paper at the Scottish National Gallery where the light from the setting sun can be seen in more schematic form. The arrangement of the mountains, trees, bridge and spot-lit figures are reminiscent of a stage set. It is thought that he was a pupil of Alexander Nasmyth and although Nasmyth’s teachings in relation to his subject are clear, the treatment of it is quite different. Where Nasmyth’s landscapes roll out, Knox’s landscapes appear like a theatre set construction. Paintings like this, with such vivid light, are often supposed to be the product of artistic license; yet that may be to do Knox and his predecessor a disservice; light may indeed be as remarkable as this.

  • Knox was born in Paisley and subsequently moved to Glasgow; he was the son of a yarn merchant.  Early on, his name appears as a portrait painter and a little later as a teacher of drawing.  By 1821 the title “Landscape Painter” was added to this entry in the Glasgow Street Directory, and we know that Daniel MacNee, Horatio McCulloch, and William Leighton Leitch came to his Dunlop Street studio as pupils.  In 1828 Knox moved to London where he exhibited works at the RA and British Institute.  He returned to Glasgow in 1836 but moved to Keswick in 1840.  Knox is known for his panoramic landscapes, in particular from the top of Ben Lomond. He also painted some of the earliest views of Glasgow.  Although some of his details are scarce, Knox was certainly an important influence in the development of art in Glasgow, both as a teacher and a painter.


    Right: John Knox, 'Mountain Landscape with Wooden Bridge over River' , grey wash over pencil on paper

    National Galleries of Scotland, purchased with support by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1997

  • JOHN KNOX (1778 – 1845) A mountainous landscape oil on canvas 52 x 77.5 cm 20 1/2 x 30 1/2...

    JOHN KNOX (1778 – 1845)

    A mountainous landscape

    oil on canvas

    52 x 77.5 cm      20 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches


  • REV. JOHN THOMSON OF DUDDINGSTON hrsa (1778 – 1840) Innerwick Castle c.1826 oil on canvas 93 x 140 cm 36...

    REV. JOHN THOMSON OF DUDDINGSTON hrsa (1778 – 1840)

    Innerwick Castle


    oil on canvas

    93 x 140 cm      36 1/2 x 55 inches



    Archerfield House, East Lothian, 1895; Winton House, East Lothian, 1921; Two sales with Bonhams, London in rapid succession one being on 25 September 1975; Sothebys, Scone, 13 April 1976; Colonel Cowley, Bt Innerwick, Crowhill


    The Royal Institution, Edinburgh, 1827

  • SIR DAVID WILKIE ra hrsa (1785 – 1841) Portrait of Alexander Aitken (1789-1871) c.1804-1806 oil on canvas 76 x 63.5...

    SIR DAVID WILKIE ra hrsa (1785 – 1841)

    Portrait of Alexander Aitken (1789-1871)


    oil on canvas

    76 x 63.5 cm      30 x 25 inches



    Lt. Col. G. L. Leslie-Smith (family of the sitter), thence by descent; Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York, 1994


    Bourne Fine Art, Scottish Art 1720-1950, Edinburgh, August 2006


    Early in Wilkie’s career he painted a series of thirteen single portraits, most of which were commissioned by local landowners and professional men in the Cupar region of Fife. These date from the latter part of 1804, when Wilkie left the Trustee’s Academy, to May 1805, prior to his departure from Scotland for London. They may have been commissioned with the specific intention of encouraging the local artist, then only around 20 years old. This portrait was likely revised in 1806, as the payment for the painting arrived around 30 July 1806.


    These early portraits of Wilkie’s are indebted to Raeburn in their format and their openness of handling, as the young artist was still to develop his signature style. This portrait bears stylistic and compositional similarities to Wilkie’s Self Portrait from the same period that is in the collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The young subject takes an assured pose with hand on hip but, for all that, the ruddy cheeks and the ever-so delicately executed necktie, pinned with a small gold heart, highlight his youth.


    The teenage sitter, Alexander Aitken, was the eldest son of George Aitken of Todhall and Janet Panton. He lived at Cupar, later working as a banker before becoming a Colonel in the Fifeshire Militia and Captain in the Black Watch.


  • PATRICK NASMYTH (1787 – 1831) Tintern Abbey inscribed with provenance on label verso; inscribed on panel verso “No 24 /...

    PATRICK NASMYTH (1787 – 1831)

    Tintern Abbey

    inscribed with provenance on label verso; inscribed on panel verso “No 24 / P... Nasmyth / Lon… / 1827”

    oil on panel

    18.5 x 25 cm      7 x 10 inches



    John Hampa; Lord Murray; John Burt M.D.


    Tintern Abbey is much celebrated in poetry and painting. Until 1829 it was approachable only by rough roads or boat on the River Wye. This may explain Patrick Nasmyth’s distant view of the Abbey but in doing so gave him opportunity to do what he did best. This small, highly wrought oil on panel contains all the defining features of Nasmyth’s painting: clouds, hedgerows, a river, trees and a single carefully placed figure of a woman on the road. The foreground of bullrushes, tree stumps and grasses points straight to the paintings of 17th-century Dutch artists, in particular Hobbema and Ruisdael whose work were enormously influential on him. A number of larger scale oils taking in Bristol, Bath, the Severn and the River Avon were executed during 1826-7. 


    The eldest child of Alexander Nasmyth, Patrick was also his pupil, until he moved to London in 1807. As a teenager, Nasmyth lost the use of his right hand following an accident, forcing him to learn how to paint with his left. A childhood illness also left him partially deaf. It was said of Patrick that he was introverted by nature. He travelled around Britain widely nonetheless and made regular return visits to Scotland.

  • DAVID ROBERTS ra (1796 – 1864) Interior of Rosslyn Chapel signed and dated 1844 oil on canvas 112 x 86.5...

    DAVID ROBERTS ra (1796 – 1864)

    Interior of Rosslyn Chapel

    signed and dated 1844

    oil on canvas

    112 x 86.5 cm      44 x 34 inches



    Joseph Feilden (1792-1870), Witton Park, Lancashire, bought from the artist for £100; by descent to his son, General Randle Feilden, C.M.G. (1824-1895); R.J.E. Buckingham, his sale, Christie's, 17 April 1964, lot 148, (150 gns.); thence by descent to the previous owner


    British Institution, London, 1844. no. 12; Royal Manchester Institution, Manchester, 1845, no. 125; Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1845, no. 37; An Exhibition for the Opening of the New Art Gallery, Blackburn, 1894, no. 25 (lent by General Feilden)


    Listed in the artist's Record Book, no. 115; James Ballantine, The Life of David Roberts, R.A. (1866) pp. 159, 250, no. 12


    Situated high above the River Esk outside Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel has inspired many artists, including Roberts, who returned to the subject several times. Here he has depicted the steps to the crypt, and to the left the “Prentice Pillar”, a tour de force of naturalistic carving, in which ivy is carved in stone around the column. The pillar is named after the apprentice who carved it in his master’s absence in Rome and was killed by him on his return in a fit of jealous rage. The master mason’s likeness appears in an upper corner, gazing in perpetuity on his nemesis. Roberts’ involvement with architecture and architectural drawing went deeper than surface decoration; he sought to reveal something of the soul of the place and its history. His travels in Europe and the Near East produced a great number of dramatically captured images of architectural remains, which informed what followed back in Britain.

  • The figures of the children and dogs playing beneath the window recall Sir David Wilkie’s Blind-Man’s Buff, in which an almost centrifugal force pushes the players to the walls and benches that line the room. The soft winter light that falls through the leaded windows, combined with the children playing, brings an air of normality to an otherwise extraordinary building.


    Roberts exhibited his first oil of the interior in 1827 and made numerous studies, including two oils in 1842, one of which was worked up into the current picture, which was admired by Prince Albert, who enquired about its purchase. Although he lived in London for most of his life, Roberts returned often to Scotland and this picture was painted during one such visit from November 1844 to April 1845.


    Left: Sir David Wilkie, 'Blind-Man's Buff', 1812, oil on canvas

    Royal Collection Trust, Painted for George IV when Prince Regent in 1812-13


  • ALEXANDER JOHNSTON (1815 – 1891) Girl in blue ribbons signed oil on canvas 30.5 x 40.5 cm 16 x 12...

    ALEXANDER JOHNSTON (1815 – 1891)

    Girl in blue ribbons


    oil on canvas

    30.5 x 40.5 cm      16 x 12 inches


    Johnston initially specialised in portraiture but soon developed an interest in subject painting and it is for this that he is better recognised. The earnest young sitter in our portrait is unknown but she may be the daughter of a friend or patron. It is also probably painted early in his career when his brushstrokes are livelier and the palette more jewel-like. The girl holds our gaze in a most direct way and the artist shows his skill in the execution of the cotton voile dress and blue ribbons. There is an intensity to the young girl who leans towards the viewer and firmly holds her hands in her lap.


    Johnston was a student in the Trustees’ Academy, Edinburgh from 1831 to 1834 and went to London with an introduction to Sir David Wilkie. He entered the schools of the Royal Academy in 1836.

  • SAM BOUGH rsa rsw (1822 – 1878) Ebb-Tide, Dysart signed and dated 1858 oil on board 33 x 56 cm...

    SAM BOUGH rsa rsw (1822 – 1878)

    Ebb-Tide, Dysart

    signed and dated 1858

    oil on board

    33 x 56 cm      13 x 22 inches



    Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, 90 George Street, Edinburgh


    Bough was a restive character, travelling across Scotland and beyond to inspire his painting. In 1858, the year this work was painted, he exhibited pictures of the Highlands, the Borders, the Forth, the Weald of Kent, the River Thames and his travels in Norway. Above all, however, he favoured the harbours of the Fife coastline. Thanks to a rail link from Edinburgh to Leuchars completed in 1855, Bough was able to frequent and paint the fishing villages along the coast regularly, and there are accounts of his raucous evenings in local taverns after a day’s painting.

  • Bough’s coastal scenes depict a way of life that was beginning to change. His meticulously accurate fishing boats are a far cry from the burgeoning industry in Edinburgh and Dundee that would soon make its way along the coast. One of Bough’s great passions, and strengths, was the observation of weather and cloud formation.  So excited was he by painting the weather that he would try to obtain reliable forecasts from one of the principal fishmongers in Edinburgh. Multiple scenes of Dysart by Bough were exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. Their titles, including “sunrise” and “evening effect”, emphasise the importance he placed on light and atmosphere.


  • SAM BOUGH rsa rsw (1822 – 1878) Winton House signed and dated 1872 oil on canvas 96.5 x 122 cm...


    SAM BOUGH rsa rsw (1822 – 1878)

    Winton House

    signed and dated 1872

    oil on canvas

    96.5 x 122 cm      38 x 48 inches



    Private collection, Scotland


    Royal Academy, London, 1872


    Sidney Gilpin, Sam Bough RSA: Some account of his life and works (London, 1905) pp. 83, 229


    Bough painted this view of Winton House, to the east of Edinburgh near Pencaitland, following his recommendation to Lady Mary Ruthven who lived at the property. She and her sister Lady Belhaven were good patrons of Boughs, buying a number of his works. Bough’s friendship with Lady Ruthven meant he often visited the house and accompanied her to exhibitions at the Royal Scottish Academy. He painted a number of works at or near the house, including an informal sketch of Lady Ruthven’s pet monkey.


    Portraits of houses often miss the essence of the place but here Bough’s familiarity catches the atmosphere. Described by his biographer Sidney Gilpin as a “remarkably fine picture”, Bough has taken a less conventional view that gives way to a more dramatic composition. Painted on a short winter’s day the sun is late rising and frost still lies in the shadows. The underlit clouds from the rising sun show, as ever, how adept Bough was at skies. Woodsmen were an often-repeated subject for Bough, usually within views of Cadzow Forest which was near his home in Hamilton. In the foreground you can see a man and woman clearing wood, a judiciously placed red hat helping to pick him out in the gloaming.

  • ROBERT HERDMAN rsa rsw (1829 – 1888) Head of a girl monogrammed and dated 1876 oil on board 21.5 x...

    ROBERT HERDMAN rsa rsw (1829 – 1888)

    Head of a girl

    monogrammed and dated 1876

    oil on board

    21.5 x 21.5 cm      8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches


    This dreamy, painterly profile of a girl on the cusp of womanhood exudes romanticism of the kind extolled by Sir Walter Scott’s writing and also the Pre-Raphaelites. Tenets of the latter came to him via his friend Sir Joseph Noel Paton, a close friend of Millais. Herdman was also intimate with the work of Scott having been commissioned to make engravings to illustrate his novels.


    Mainly known for his portraiture and historical narrative painting, Herdman also painted child figures of Highland gleaners or fern gatherers. Their striking beauty shows his tendency to observe his subjects through a romantic lens but, for all their exquisite other worldliness, they often stare, confrontationally, at the viewer. Unlike his more intellectual work, the palette emerges in bright technicolour, glowing like our russet haired subject.


  • GEORGE PAUL CHALMERS rsa rsw (1833 – 1878) Montrose Pier, Twilight signed; signed and inscribed 'Study of Twilight' in pencil...

    GEORGE PAUL CHALMERS rsa rsw (1833 – 1878)

    Montrose Pier, Twilight

    signed; signed and inscribed 'Study of Twilight' in pencil on board verso

    watercolour and gouache

    25.5 x 35 cm      10 x 14 inches

  • WILLIAM GLOVER (1848 – 1916) The Clyde signed and dated '67; signed and inscribed with title on artist's label verso...

    WILLIAM GLOVER (1848 – 1916)

    The Clyde

    signed and dated '67; signed and inscribed with title on artist's label verso

    oil on board

    23 x 53.5 cm      9 x 21 inches



    W. B. Simpson Fine Art Dealer, St Vincent Street, Glasgow


  • PHOEBE TRAQUAIR hrsa (1852 – 1936) Boy and Sheep monogrammed and dated '91; inscribed verso 'Hilda Traquair / from Mamma...

    PHOEBE TRAQUAIR hrsa (1852 – 1936)

    Boy and Sheep

    monogrammed and dated '91; inscribed verso 'Hilda Traquair / from Mamma / Easter 1899'

    oil on canvas

    25.5 x 20.5 cm      10 x 8 inches



    Private collection, USA


    At the time this was painted, Traquair was close to completing her murals at the Song School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh. Unlike the bold and stylised symbolist murals, the boy and his sheep are more naturalistic. Boy and Sheep relates to The Shepherd Boy, now in the Scottish National Gallery, which formed part of the artist’s bequest. Both pictures were painted in 1891 and show a young boy against a Borders landscape. There is, however, something of the divine about both pictures. Enhanced by a transcendent light and the heavenly distant Border hills, the subject matter has obvious Biblical connections. Traquair’s fascination with the work of William Blake, for whom the shepherd held special meaning, further underscores this. The subject also connects us to a world of rural innocence, a life close to nature. 


    Traquair worked in an extraordinarily wide variety of media encompassing enamelling, book binding, embroidery, illustrated manuscripts, quilting and mural painting. Her ideas at this time ran in parallel with William Morris, who similarly blurred distinctions between fine and decorative arts; both also shared a Christian affinity with nature as the prime example of God’s design. 

  • Traquair was the first important professional woman artist of modern Scotland and was a leading figure within the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement. In 1920, she became the first woman member of the Scottish Royal Academy, reflecting her status as a leading professional designer at a time when art and design were still dominated by men.


    Right: 'The Shepherd Boy', 1891, oil on canvas

    National Galleries of Scotland, bequeathed by the artist, 1936

  • SIR JAMES GUTHRIE hra prsa hrsw (1859 – 1930) Boy with a Straw signed and dated '86 oil on canvas...

    SIR JAMES GUTHRIE hra prsa hrsw (1859 – 1930)

    Boy with a Straw

    signed and dated '86

    oil on canvas

    41 x 30.5 cm      16 x 12 inches



    Gifted to William G. Gardiner, the artist’s uncle and patron; thence by descent to his great nephew 

    Dr Neil Guthrie, his son Ian Guthrie, to his first cousin


    For James Guthrie, the summer months of 1882 were crucial. Depictions of steep, grassy hillsides with resting labourers, painted in the open-air, in emulation of Jules Bastien Lepage’s Les Foins, (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) became a favourite motif. However, as his work developed throughout the mid-1880s, Guthrie faced insurmountable difficulties that at one point led him to think of abandoning his career as a painter. The astonishing succès d’estime of his early work could not be sustained and even medium-sized canvases such as Schoolmates (Musée des Beaux Arts, Ghent) took much longer to complete than anticipated, while large works such as Fieldworkers sheltering from a Shower and The Stonebreaker were either delayed, destroyed or dismembered. 


    We look therefore to the few extant smaller works of these crucial years in order to gain access to Guthrie’s thinking. They reveal a formidable talent at moments when not under strain. Boy with a Straw, dated 1886, comes from this sequence. Guthrie’s brushwork is sketchy, spontaneous and expressive. The trees may be moving in a light breeze; the haystack and foreground debris are swiftly noted, but the artist sees no reason to sharpen contours or finish forms. This boy might be posing yet, having pulled a piece of straw from the haystack, he now engages both artist and spectator.Guthrie’s important little canvas coincides with Walton’s A Daydream (1885, National Galleries Scotland) and may even have suggested what became its essential mise-en-scène. 

  • The relationship is obvious: Guthrie’s boy, like Walton’s girl, sits facing the spectator with his legs splayed out, and boots upturned. Yet where Walton perfects his picture for exhibition, Guthrie retains that sense of the temporary unfinished encounter. But in that brief moment of calm in the summer of 1886, when a boy with a straw in his hand marches up a hillside and sits before him, Guthrie’s realisation was complete – and for Glasgow School painters there was now a new visual turn.

    With thanks to Professor Kenneth McConkey


    Left: E A Walton, A Daydream, 1885, oil on canvas

    National Galleries of Scotland, purchased with the aid of the Art Fund 1999


  • SIR JAMES GUTHRIE hra prsa hrsw (1859 – 1930) Cambuskenneth Ferry 1888, signed pastel on paper 25.5 x 44.5 cm...

    SIR JAMES GUTHRIE hra prsa hrsw (1859 – 1930)

    Cambuskenneth Ferry

    1888, signed

    pastel on paper

    25.5 x 44.5 cm      10 x 17 1/2 inches



    Gifted to William G. Gardiner, the artist’s uncle and patron; thence by descent to his great nephew 

    Dr Neil Guthrie, his son Ian Guthrie, to his first cousin


    Guthrie’s return to Stirling in 1888 came after a creative hiatus. Since 1885, he had struggled to move forward artistically but upon moving to Stirling, Guthrie found the rural subject matter that he sought: the ferry crossing on the River Forth at the nearby village of Cambuskenneth, women at work in the rope factory, or with farm-labourers in adjacent fields. Whilst he had used pastel previously, Guthrie’s biographer, Sir James Caw, documents 65 pictures in pastel from this period. 

  • It was the versatility of pastel that allowed Guthrie to develop and innovate but his use of the medium is noteworthy in itself. Out of favour since its earlier use in the 18th century, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that pastel became popular again. . 


    Pastel’s renaissance began in France with artists such as Degas and, as ever, British artists were influenced by continental innovation. Pastel appealed to Guthrie for its portability and the facility with which it could render a scene. The soft, powdery quality of pastel has allowed Guthrie to capture the quickly changing and diffuse light of evening. The horizontal blending emphasises the composition and is put to especially effective use in its suggestion of moving water, alternately blending and drawing with the pastel to indicate the currents, eddies and reflections. Tree trunks and gable ends of buildings catch the last of the day’s light and intersect the emphatically horizontal composition. People are either alighting or boarding the boat and Guthrie’s free handling is indicative of the unsteadiness of the vessel.


    In a picture where much is suggestion, the gaslight from a window and reflections of it in the water give a vivid focal point. Twilight’s transitory nature was further reason for Guthrie’s choice of pastel. As stated by Dr Freya Spoor, pastel “utilised pure colour which remained true, regardless of light source” – unlike oil paint which both needed to be mixed in advance and changed in different lights. Pastel gave truth.

  • CHARLES HODGE MACKIE rsa rsw (1862 – 1920) Picardy inscribed with artist’s name recto; inscribed verso ‘Charles Mackie / signed...

    CHARLES HODGE MACKIE rsa rsw (1862 – 1920)


    inscribed with artist’s name recto; inscribed verso ‘Charles Mackie / signed by 

    Anne M Mackie / Jan. 15th 1924 / … Picardy / 1907’

    oil on canvas

    76 x 63.5 cm      30 x 25 inches


    France and its artistic influences had a strong effect on Mackie from his first visit to the country in 1892 at the age of thirty. On this trip he travelled to Brittany, where he met the Symbolist Paul Sérusier and was introduced to Paul Gauguin, Edouard Vuillard and other members of the progressive Nabis Group. In his own work, Mackie blended their bold use of colour with agrarian scenes more typical of the earlier French Realists.


    From 1904-1909, Mackie lived near Étaples, north of Picardy, with his wife and young son, and would return to the area regularly until the outbreak of the First World War. At the time, Étaples was home to a vibrant art colony largely consisting of artists from America, Britain, and its Commonwealth. Resident artists were not united by any particular style, but shared common interests with Mackie in the effects of light, outdoor painting and their rustic surrounds.


    In Picardy, Mackie’s depiction of dappled light on the region’s ubiquitous forests and traditional stone buildings gives a warm glow to the scene. He painted a number of works, both oil and woodblock prints, of sheep being brought in at the end of the day, always flushed with the glow of a setting sun.


    In later years, Mackie associated with the Staithes Group in North Yorkshire, where he provided support and tuition to the young Laura Knight.


  • SIR DAVID YOUNG CAMERON ra rsa hrsw re (1865 – 1945) Cliffs and Crags of Ross signed and titled on...

    SIR DAVID YOUNG CAMERON ra rsa hrsw re (1865 – 1945)

    Cliffs and Crags of Ross

    signed and titled on stretcher verso

    oil on canvas

    43 x 52 cm      17 x 20 1/2 inches



    The Fine Art Society, London, January 1957


    Cameron’s focus turned to the austere beauty of Scotland’s wilderness in the early 20th century. His style was individual and altered little during his life. Palette was the only element that changed quite radically: from sober and muted greys and browns early in the 20th century to vivid blues, reds and gold by the 1930s. 


    Cameron’s attitude to colour changed in the early 1920s during a period spent recuperating from a heart attack in the south of France.  He saw light and colour in a way he had not done before and, on his return to Scotland, he filled his pictures with glowing, vibrant colour. His work could be said to tread a fine line between romance and realism and is generally instantly recognisable by his distinctive use of colour. Though some would accuse him of artistic license, those who know the landscape well will recognise the intense and sometimes seemingly unbelievable colours that he often depicts in his paintings of the Scottish Highlands. His decision to paint the Ross-shire landscape under a low sun allowed Cameron to bathe the scene in a rich, golden light.


    The uncharacteristic inclusion of figures in this work highlights the scale of the rocky terrain in Ross-shire, though generally Cameron had moved away from depictions of people by 1917. His aim was to show “that spell of mystic beauty, haunted by strangeness of form and colour, remote from the facts and feelings of common life”.

  • SIR DAVID YOUNG CAMERON ra rsa hrsw re (1865 – 1945) Schiehallion signed; signed and titled on stretcher verso oil...

    SIR DAVID YOUNG CAMERON ra rsa hrsw re (1865 – 1945)


    signed; signed and titled on stretcher verso

    oil on canvas

    30.5 x 37.5 cm      12 x 15 inches



    Arthur Tooth & Sons, 155 New Bond Street, London; The Fine Art Society, London; Robert Fleming Ltd., London


  • ROBERT BURNS arsa (1869 – 1941) The Inch from across Manxman’s Lake, Kirkcudbright signed oil on canvas 51 x 76...

    ROBERT BURNS arsa (1869 – 1941)

    The Inch from across Manxman’s Lake, Kirkcudbright


    oil on canvas

    51 x 76 cm      20 x 30 inches

  • JOHN MACLAUCHLAN MILNE rsa (1885 – 1957) Lunga from Iona signed oil on board 45.5 x 61 cm 18 x...

    JOHN MACLAUCHLAN MILNE rsa (1885 – 1957)

    Lunga from Iona


    oil on board

    45.5 x 61 cm      18 x 24 inches



    Private collection, Fife


    Impressionism transformed Milne’s palette, but it was the rough Scottish coastline that transformed his technique. In the 1930s Milne turned increasingly to the Scottish landscape, and the white sands and clear light of Iona – reminiscent of the coasts of the south of France – inspired his paintings. The landscape took a far more linear and muscular form and acquired a drama that sets it apart from the impressionistic style of his earlier French paintings. In contrast to the more refined Iona landscapes by Cadell and Peploe, he emphasises the wildness of the island by his more rugged and energetic technique. Here, beyond the jagged rocks of Iona’s north coast, Milne looks toward Lunga, one of the Treshnish Isles near Mull.


    Milne is often compared to the Scottish Colourists and – while he knew S J Peploe, 

    J D Fergusson and, later, G L Hunter – by inclination and the circumstances of his time his path was different. Unlike Peploe and Fergusson who made for Paris, Milne emigrated to Canada and, from 1903 to 1907, worked as a cowboy. While Peploe and Fergusson witnessed the first exhibitions of the Fauves and retrospective shows of Gauguin, Cezanne and Van Gogh; Milne came to them over a decade later when, in 1919, he went to Paris.


  • SIR JAMES GUNN ra (1893 – 1964) Gwen Playing Cards 1922; signed oil on canvas 61 x 45.5 cm 24...

    SIR JAMES GUNN ra (1893 – 1964)

    Gwen Playing Cards

    1922; signed

    oil on canvas

    61 x 45.5 cm      24 x 18 inches



    The Artist's family and thence by descent; The Fine Art Society, London, 2008; private collection, Kensington


    In this intimate scene, Gunn has depicted his wife Gwendoline Hillman the year after the birth of their first daughter. Gwen was a muse for the artist throughout their marriage, and his portraits of her throughout the 1920s helped cement his decision to transition from his beginnings as a landscape artist to a society portraitist. He would achieve great fame and repute in this role, completing royal commissions and receiving a knighthood for his services to the arts.


    Gunn was the son of a prosperous draper, and it is through his rendition of cloth and interiors that his portraits are so successful. Here, the simple elegance of his sitter’s loose dress and the fine detail of the floral footstool on which she is seated are offset by a harmony of subtle tones. Each aspect of the backdrop – from the canvas leaning to, to the door and rug – draw attention to Gunn’s subject and her activity through muted colour and deliberate placement, while continuations of blue and red throughout lend a completeness and closeness to the portrait. 

  • SIR WILLIAM GILLIES ra rsa prsw (1898 – 1973) From a Window, Temple signed watercolour 38.5 x 56 cm 15...

    SIR WILLIAM GILLIES ra rsa prsw (1898 – 1973)

    From a Window, Temple



    38.5 x 56 cm      15 x 22 inches



    Aitken Dott & Son, Edinburgh, 1954


    Aitken Dott & Son, Festival Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1954, no.51


    Gillies’ move to Temple in 1939 marked a shift in his choice of subject. He had travelled Scotland seeking vistas for his landscapes, though his work around the quiet Midlothian village quickly became more intimate – a celebration of the everyday. He explored his new environment with close views through cottage windows and down narrow streets, shifting his perspective to focus on the terrain. Temple is a village of tall 18th-century cottages which, at that time, had no more than 100 inhabitants. With no electricity until the 1950s it would become even more isolated in the cold winter months.


    Gillies began to concentrate on light and colour, and here the complementary tones of his heightened palette evoke a cold winter’s day. “On coming to Temple, I began to cope with my new material by relying on simple planning and tonal relationships as subtle and evocative as I could make them.” The loose, expressive watercolour style is reminiscent of his work in the 1930s in the north-west highlands and is particularly well suited to capturing Scotland’s ever changing weather.


  • IAN FLEMING rsa rsw (1906 – 1994) Portrait of a Glasgow Highlander signed and dated 1934 oil on canvas 76...

    IAN FLEMING rsa rsw (1906 – 1994)

    Portrait of a Glasgow Highlander

    signed and dated 1934

    oil on canvas

    76 x 63.5 cm      30 x 25 inches


    Fleming joined the faculty at Glasgow School of Art in 1932 having been a student there two years earlier between 1924–1929. He remained on the staff until the outbreak of the Second World War and returned for two additional spells of teaching in 1941 and 1946. Fleming completed several portraits in the 30s before focussing on landscape painting. His sitters appear to have tended towards friends and contemporaries rather than commissioned works, including his students Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, whose double portrait painted in 1937/38 is in the collection of Glasgow School of Art.


    While the sitter of this portrait is unknown, his military bonnet bears the badge of the Glasgow Highlanders. He looks directly at us although, it seems, deep in his own thought. One might speculate that his pensive demeanour is as a consequence of having served in the First World War. He looks to be in his thirties, and this would have made him a very young soldier.

  • JAMES McINTOSH PATRICK obe rsa (1907 – 1988) The Striped Scarf signed and dated 1932 oil on canvas 56.5 x...

    JAMES McINTOSH PATRICK obe rsa (1907 – 1988)

    The Striped Scarf

    signed and dated 1932

    oil on canvas

    56.5 x 43 cm      22 x 17 inches



    Private collection, Edinburgh


    The sitter, Alex Russell, was Head of Design at what is now Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee. McIntosh Patrick had joined its staff in 1929 and the following year completed a commissioned portrait of Russell that is in the collection of the University of Dundee. The Striped Scarf, painted in 1932, also positions Russell against a rather surreal Leonardo-esque landscape, topographically reminiscent of the Scottish west highland coastline.


    Little is known of the sitter in spite of these two estimable portraits. He was responsible for the design of six stained glass windows in Dundee Council Chambers which depict the city’s history. He was also commissioned to collect outstanding modern textile designs by J & P Coats, who had established the Needlework Development Scheme in 1934. This was done in conjunction with the Scottish art colleges to collect examples of textile and embroidery design to assist in the development of a modern design aesthetic in Scotland. 


  • JOAN EARDLEY rsa (1921 – 1963) The White Cloud c.1952-58; signed oil on board 15 x 21.5 cm 6 x...

    JOAN EARDLEY rsa (1921 – 1963)

    The White Cloud

    c.1952-58; signed

    oil on board

    15 x 21.5 cm      6 x 8 1/2 inches



    Aitken Dott & Son, Edinburgh; private collection, Scotland


    Aitken Dott & Son, Festival Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1958


    Depicted is “The Watchie”, the northernmost cottage on the edge of the bay at Catterline. Originally a watchhouse for Customs & Excise, it was bought by Eardley’s friend Annette Soper in 1952. Eardley was given free access to work from it during trips to the village over the next two years and her early work in the area was painted from its doorstep or immediate vicinity. “When I’m painting in the northeast – I hardly ever move out of the village. I hardly ever move from one spot. I find the more I know the place, the more I know the particular spot, the more I find to paint in that particular spot.”


    Above the coastal landscape, commanding attention, a large cloud speaks to Eardley’s increasing emphasis on weather. Her work at Catterline would become more and more preoccupied with capturing atmospheric conditions from familiar vantage points and, in the following years, she would turn her canvas to the changing sea. So encouraged was she about a storm that if she were painting in Glasgow and heard of a strong easterly wind coming in, she would pack up and move east immediately.


  • JOHN HOUSTON obe rsa (1930 – 2008) Evening Sky over Cornfields signed and dated 1972; signed and titled on stretcher...

    JOHN HOUSTON obe rsa (1930 – 2008)

    Evening Sky over Cornfields

    signed and dated 1972; signed and titled on stretcher verso

    oil on canvas

    127 x 152.5 cm      50 x 60 inches



    Mercury Gallery, London, 5 October 1972; M Coates Esq.; Bourne Fine Art, Edinburgh, 2011; private collection, Scotland


    Mercury Gallery, London, 1972; Bourne Fine Art, Edinburgh, 2011


    The year this picture was painted, Houston was made a Royal Scottish Academician. His work from this period has a confidence and bold assurance that went hand in hand with his now international reputation.


    In 1969 Houston had been made artist in residence at the Prairie School, Wisconsin. The vast landscapes of that state – combined with an inspirational exhibition of modern American painting which he viewed in New York – proved highly influential. The impact of the expansive American scenery is particularly evident in the compositions of his so-called “sky pictures”, made in the years immediately following his return to Scotland.


    Evening Sky over Cornfields is one such painting. It is likely to have been painted during a stay at Lybster in Caithness, where Houston made sketches for several large-scale “sky and sea” scenes which he later finished in his Edinburgh studio. Here, he has taken one of the most atmospheric and naturally abstract occurrences in nature, sunset, as his subject. By pushing the focus skywards and amplifying its fiery tones, Houston creates a work that is a characteristically clever combination of the abstract and the actual. Houston maintained that he preferred working from sketches and his memory, as he felt that painting from direct observation could at times “dilute the first strong impression”.