Three figures congregate on some rocks by the still water of a Scottish loch. Below them, two men are in a wooden dinghy. To the right of the dinghy, a group of people and two horses are transported across the loch on a barge.
This painting is one of many scenes of Scottish lochs which Alexander Nasmyth painted to satisfy a growing taste for landscape painting in Scotland towards the end of the 18th century. The work, probably made in the 1790s, is one of a number of almost identical versions of this Scottish scene painted by Nasmyth. Previously thought to represent Loch Lomond, it has more recently been identified as a view of the ferry at Inver. The warm light Nasmyth employs in the painting recalls the golden light of the Roman campagna, which he visited in the 1780s, rather than the more accurate Scottish mists of the region. Nasmyth also painted similar views of Loch Tay and the Pass of Achray in Perthshire.
Alexander Nasmyth, artist and engineer, was born in Edinburgh, the son of architect and builder Michael Nasmyth. He studied at the high school in Edinburgh and was trained by his father to join the family business. However, instead Nasmyth took an apprenticeship with a house-painter in 1773, before briefly attending the drawing classes of Alexander Runciman the following year. After meeting the portrait painter Allan Ramsay, Nasmyth worked as an assistant in Ramsay’s London studio, before returning to Edinburgh in 1778 to establish himself as a portrait painter. He turned to landscape painting after spending time in Italy between 1782 and 1785 and became one of the chief founders of the Scottish picturesque landscape school.
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