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Spring 1864

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
The fresh bright colours of the sunlit landscape complement the healthy complexions of the two young girls resting by the stream. The distant lambs help confirm the season as Spring, a time of new life and optimism echoed in the girls' youthful innocence. G.B.Simpson, a textile manufacturer from Dundee, who was a collector and enthusiastic amateur artist commissioned a pair of pictures, Spring and Autumn, from McTaggart in 1863. The compositions were planned through a series of pencil drawings and oil sketches also purchased by Simpson to ensure his exclusive ownership.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Oil sketch

A rough drawing in oil paint, possibly the preliminary version of a painting. In the in the 18th and 19th centuries it is particularly associated with landscape sketches which were executed quickly outdoors and not intended for public display.

Commission, Composition, Oil sketch


  • Acc. No. NG 2137
  • Medium Oil on canvas 45.1 x 60.4cm stretcher
  • Size (framed: 74.10 x 89.00 cm)
  • Credit Bequest of Sir James Lewis Caw 1951