About this artwork
Graham's observations of fleeting effects in nature provided the basis for his painting. He captured the transient character of clouds as they float around the mountain tops and descend into the valleys, and recorded their wandering shadows across the slopes. The sense of movement and constant change is echoed in the mountain stream flowing down to the gushing river. One knows too that the presence of the fisherman and sheep, which emphasises the vastness of the rocky terrain, is also temporary. On moving to London, Graham produced series of grand paintings like this, particularly appealing to an urban-based audience.
- title: Wandering Shadows
- accession number: NG 1986
- artist: Peter GrahamScottish (1836 - 1921)
- gallery: On Loan
- object type: Painting
- subject: Mountains Rivers Rocks
- materials: Oil on canvas
- date created: 1878
- measurements: 134.62 x 182.88 cm (framed: 174.40 x 222.80 x 13.40 cm)
- credit line: Purchased with the aid of the Cowan Smith Bequest Fund 1944
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
Graham's large paintings celebrate the romantic character of the Scottish Highlands. He trained at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh under Robert Scott Lauder and at first worked on figure subjects. From 1859 he began to concentrate on landscape painting after an inspiring holiday in Deeside. Graham chose to paint on a scale which emphasised the awe-inspiring magnificence of the scenery. His response to the landscape was also influenced by the paintings of Horatio McCulloch and the poetry of Sir Walter Scott. He enjoyed great success at the Royal Scottish Academy and from 1866, at the Royal Academy, London.