About this artwork

This very detailed watercolour shows the harbour at Alloa, a small town on the north bank of the River Forth. Williams's choice of subject was perhaps not incidental, for Alloa was the birthplace of his former drawing master, David Allan. This painting, of about 1825, illustrates the beginnings of industrial production in Scotland. The cone-shaped structures in the background were part of the Alloa glassworks. Williams included extraordinary detail, using his pen for fine elements such as wood planking and boat rigging, and dabs of colour to enhance smaller elements such as the boatmen's clothing. Williams made this picture on the spot, but he must have intended to develop it later, as he inscribed the sheet with detailed colour notes.

Hugh William Williams

Hugh William Williams