About this artwork

The party having a picnic in the foreground includes Sir Walter Scott, the publisher Robert Cadell, Scott's servant, and possibly Turner himself. They had stopped to admire this view looking towards Melrose over the River Tweed on their way to and from Smailholm Tower. Turner had returned to the same spot to make the sketches which form the basis for this watercolour. The valley is bathed in the golden light of early evening, complemented by the lilac tones of the distant hills. The ruins of Melrose Abbey are the only prominent structures of the pretty Borders town.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner