About this artwork

Fast Castle, which stands on a rocky cliff on the Berwickshire coast, was generally taken to be the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott's imaginary castle of Wolf's Crag in the novel The Bride of Lammermoor. Thomson and Scott were firm friends, and in 1823 Thomson presented the writer with one of his paintings of Fast Castle. He made at least eleven pictures of the castle from diverse vantage points and in different weather conditions. Here, the old castle ruin can be made out at the top of the cliff, tiny compared to the rugged rocks, menacing sky and rough sea. A few small boats seem vulnerable in the swell of sea, adding an underlying sentiment of uneasiness, mystery and danger.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Fast Castle from below
  • date created:
    About 1824
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    76.20 x 105.40 cm (framed: 107.50 x 138.00 x 13.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1946
  • accession number:
    NG 2039
  • gallery:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston

Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston