• S
  • William Simson
Solway Moss: Evening

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Solway Moss: Evening Dated 1830
  • Scottish Art
In 1831, Simson presented this painting to the recently formed Royal Scottish Academy. Soloway Moss is a lowland peat bog (or moss), just south of the Scottish Border in Cumbria. It was also the scene of the famous 1542 battle between King James V of Scotland and King Henry VIII’s troops. It was a decisive win for the English, despite their vastly inferior number of troops. This tranquil, pastoral view looks out across the ‘moss’ where the sun is setting in the distance. In the foreground a herder lies on the grass, his cattle resting nearby. The warmth of the sunset contrasts with the haunting blues of the right, and the eerie smoke drifting in the middle-distance gives what should be a calm scene, a slight edge of tension.

Glossary Open


A landscape painting in which the countryside is represented as an idyllic place, peopled by shepherds and shepherdesses or mythological figures.

Royal Scottish Academy

The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) was formed in Edinburgh in 1826 by Scottish artists who felt alienated by what they perceived as the elitism of the Royal Institution and its management of contemporary art exhibitions. In 1835, the RSA secured exhibition rights in the Royal Institution building, which had been erected on The Mound by the Board of Manufactures in 1826. The RSA and the Board frequently argued over responsibilities for advanced art education. From 1859, the RSA shared the premises of the new National Gallery of Scotland under the Board’s custody. In 1910, after transferring most of its art collections to the Gallery, the RSA gained exclusive tenancy of the former Royal Institution building, where it continues to hold large-scale annual exhibitions.

Pastoral, Royal Scottish Academy


  • Acc. No. NG 308
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 66.70 x 94.00 cm (framed: 90.90 x 118.20 x 7.90 cm)
  • Credit Purchased by the RSA 1853; transferred and presented 1910