About this artwork

Alexander Fraser, McCulloch’s great admirer, biographer and fellow landscape painter, recalled that McCulloch painted many versions of this ambitious and atmospheric picture. First shown at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh in 1851, it enjoyed an immediate and lasting critical success. In 1869 the popularity of Lowland River was extended yet further when it was engraved as presentation print for distribution to the art-loving middle class members of the Royal Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland. The finished oil painting was worked up from sketches done on the Water of Leith near Edinburgh in 1849. The composition is probably a mixture of real and imagined places. It combines the elements of several of the preparatory sketches and in the far distance; there is a reminiscence of the Pentland Hills, whose distinctive silhouette dominates the skyline south of Edinburgh.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    A Lowland River
  • date created:
    Dated 1851
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    99.00 x 150.00 cm; Framed: 193.04 x 142.24 x 13.05 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequest of Robert Cox 1872
  • accession number:
    NG 587
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Horatio McCulloch

Horatio McCulloch