About this artwork

This drawing shows a view of the town of Kirkwall in Orkney. It is unclear when it was made, but it is likely to have been when Irvine was a young man. He was from Lerwick in Shetland, but would have passed through Orkney around 1828 on his way south to London. Irvine eventually specialised in portraiture, but he is known to have made landscape views while on his travels through France. This drawing shows his fine attention to detail and his observation of people. The boy fishing of the causeway and the man in the boat reinforce the islanders’ reliance on the sea. St. Magnus Cathedral with its distinctive local red and yellow sandstone can be seen in the background.

  • title:
    Kirkwall, Orkney
  • accession number:
    D 3490
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Watercolour over pencil on paper
  • date created:
    Unknown
  • measurements:
    14.40 x 29.90 cm
  • credit line:
    William Finlay Watson Bequest 1881

John Irvine

John Irvine