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Crossing the Bar (Study for the Painting ‘Over the Harbour Bar’)

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Crossing the Bar (Study for the Painting ‘Over the Harbour Bar’) About 1883 - 1886

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
McTaggart often spent the summer months sketching out of doors by the sea. He particularly favoured his native Kintyre on the West Coast of Scotland, and it was there that he made this study in the mid-1880s. On the registration plate of the boat closest to the spectator, the faint letters CN can be made out, indicating that the boat came from Campbeltown. This is the main town at the foot of the Kintyre peninsula and once home to over thirty whisky distilleries. McTaggart's watercolours were painted quickly and show his fascination with capturing movement. In this painting, he used the translucency of watercolour to convey the blurring associated with the rapid motion of the sea.

Glossary Open


A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.



  • Acc. No. D 4522
  • Medium Watercolour and bodycolour on paper
  • Size 27.70 x 36.90 cm
  • Credit Sir James Lewis Caw Bequest 1951