About this artwork

This dramatic view of Tantallon Castle in East Lothian was probably painted about 1816. It shows the Romantic transformation of a type of motif which Nasmyth had begun to explore in the 1790s; large-scale panoramic views of Scottish country houses and castles. In these scenes, he sought topographical accuracy combined with picturesque sentiment. Here, Nasmyth’s choice of subject probably reflects his creative response to the immense reputation of Sir Walter Scott, whose epic poem ‘Marmion’ (1808) celebrated the historical associations of Tantallon. Nasmyth’s composition is also strongly reminiscent of the dramatic shipwrecks painted by Claude Joseph Vernet in the mid-eighteenth century.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    A View of Tantallon Castle with the Bass Rock
  • date created:
    About 1816
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    92.00 x 122.30 cm (framed: 119.40 x 149.99 x 9.20 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund 1994
  • accession number:
    NG 2627
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Alexander Nasmyth

Alexander Nasmyth