• Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh, with Edinburgh Castle behind -
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    Pen and grey ink and watercolour over traces of pencil

    Oval 22.9 by 27.8 cm., 9 by 10 ¾ in.

     

    Provenance:

    Probably Sir William Forbes, 7th Bt. of Pitsligo;

    By descent in the Forbes Family of Pitsligo, Fettercairn House, Kincardineshire, Scotland

     

    This is a view of Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh, now George Heriot School, from the south with Edinburgh Castle behind. On his death in 1624, George Heriot left around £25,000 for the founding of a charitable school then known as a `Hospital’ to care for poor, fatherless children. Construction was begun in 1628 but the Hospital only opened in 1659. The building is notable for its renaissance architecture.

     

    Nasmyth was born in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh and began his career as a portrait painter studying at the Trustee’s Academy. He was spotted by Allan Ramsay and moved to London to join his studio. On his return to Edinburgh in 1778 Raeburn had established himself as a portrait artist so Nasmyth turned to landscape painting in oil and watercolour. He was known as the founder of landscape painting in Scotland. He worked mainly in oil but his watercolours of Edinburgh were often in this oval format. For examples see J.C.B. Cooksey, Alexander Nasmyth – A Man of the Scottish Reniassance, 1991, no. O5 (ill.) and two examples belonging to the Marquis of Lothian were sold at Sotheby’s on 28th March 2017, lots 486 and 487. An oval view `Edinburgh from the East’ was with Bourne Fine Art in 2006.

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