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  • Robert Gibb
Craigmillar Castle from Dalkeith Road
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Craigmillar Castle from Dalkeith Road about 1826
  • Scottish Art
Gibb exhibited this picture at the Royal Institution in Edinburgh in 1826. It is an idyllic scene of rural life set against a backdrop of fields, where the old tower-house of Craigmillar Castle nestles in the distance. The whole scene is serene and picturesque, and the farm-workers guide the cattle across the shallow river at a leisurely pace. This peaceful scene is inconsistent with the agricultural revolution that was actually taking place in the Scottish Lowlands at the time. Wealthy landowners were enclosing their estates, and modern farming methods were being introduced to maximise profit, radically altering people’s rural existence and impoverishing many. Gibb’s nostalgia for a fading way of life in many way parallels the work of his English contemporary, John Constable.

Glossary Open

Picturesque

A term applied to certain landscape images and garden or architectural designs. The idea became prominent in the 18th century to describe irregular or rough scenes that were deemed worthy to be painted. This includes subjects such as ruined castles or ramshackle cottages.

Royal Institution

Founded in Edinburgh in 1819, the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland was a privately funded and largely aristocratic body, modelled on the British Institution in London. The Royal Institution (RI) initially staged exhibitions of Old Master paintings, but from 1821 to 1830 it also mounted contemporary exhibitions to stimulate patronage for modern Scottish art. The RI’s fifth exhibition occupied a new building dedicated to the arts on The Mound. This building, originally named the Royal Institution, was shared with other bodies and learned societies. It is now called the Royal Scottish Academy building. In the 1820s the RI began to form a national collection of paintings, most of which was later housed in the adjacent National Gallery of Scotland.

Picturesque, Royal Institution

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 193
  • Medium Oil on board
  • Size 27.30 x 40.00 cm (framed: 43.70 x 56.30 x 6.20 cm)
  • Credit Purchased by the Royal Institution 1826; transferred to the National Gallery of Scotland 1859