About this artwork

Thomas Keith took his pictures before seven in the morning and after four in the afternoon to achieve the raking light, which picked out architectural detail and emphasised the structure of a building, as shown in this photograph of Iona Abbey. When Keith exhibited the picture in December 1856, a critic hailed it as 'a vigorous and most powerful picture'. The figure is probably Keith's wife, Elizabeth Johnston, whose presence offers us a nineteenth-century meditation on the ancient Christian ruins of the abbey, founded by St Columba in the sixth century.

Updated before 2020

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Sir Thomas Keith

Sir Thomas Keith