While a divinity student in Edinburgh, Thomson attended the landscape drawing classes held by the Scottish artist Alexander Nasmyth. Although this was his only artistic training, Thomson became a major figure in Scottish Romantic landscape painting, while also maintaining a career as a minister in the parish of Duddingston. There, he was close to the intellectual and cultural life of Edinburgh, and formed a long-term friendship with the celebrated poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott. Scott’s atmospheric literary descriptions of the Scottish countryside influenced Thomson’s landscape pictures. He painted recognisable places, but imbued them with a dramatic, romantic atmosphere. This seminal approach to landscape was inspirational to subsequent generations of Scottish artists.