Queen's View, Loch Tummel

Queen's View, Loch Tummel



William Simpson (1823-1899)
Queen's View, Loch Tummel

Signed lower right:
Queen's View, - Loch Tummel. 3. Sep. 1880. Wm Simpson
Watercolour over pencil
36.7 by 54.2 cm., 14 ½ by 21 ¼ in.

'Queen's View' overlooking Loch Tummel is said to have been named after Queen Victoria's visit to the area in 1866. Although it is thought that the name predates her visit and that the view is named after Robert the Bruce's first wife, Queen Isabella. The view, which is one of the most photographed in Scotland, has changed substantially since Simpson painted his watercolour. In the 1950s Loch Tummel was dammed as part of the Hydro-Electric Power Scheme and consequently the loch's water level rose by 4.5m.

Simpson initially apprenticed to a firm of lithographers in Glasgow, before moving to London in 1851. He became celebrated as a war artist, covering the Crimean war and travelling with the British Army from 1854. Following the success of his lithographs of the Crimean war, Simpson was asked to travel extensively, capturing events, wars and the people involved both in his sketches and studies and through his writing. Simpson's extensive travels and reputation as journalist and artist, brought him to the attention of the Queen and the Prince of Wales and he accompanied them on various trips and visited Sandringham, Balmoral and Abergeldie. Simpson eventually settled in Willesden, North London in 1885, where he remained until his death.

The present watercolour dates from his return to Britain, at the end of the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1879/80 and his return to the region in the company of Sir Peter Lumsden with the Afghan Boundary Commission in autumn 1884.