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Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

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Culzean Castle, Ayrshire 1812

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Culzean Castle is perched high on a cliff above the Firth of Clyde in Ayrshire, and offers superb views across to the Isle of Arran. The name derives from 'Cuilean', meaning ‘place of caves’, because the shoreline is honeycombed with natural caverns carved by the action of the sea. This network of caves offered a haven for smugglers in the eighteenth century. The magnificent castle was re-modelled by Robert Adam at the end of the eighteenth-century and is one of the finest Georgian castles in Scotland. This carefully observed pen and wash drawing is typical of the preparatory studies that Nasmyth later developed into oil paintings back in his studio. It probably dates from his 1812 visit to the Castle, when he was commissioned to make two paintings for the picture room at Culzean.

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’.


A transparent layer of diluted ink or watercolour.

Commission, Wash


  • Acc. No. D 3727/25
  • Medium Brown ink with grey and brown wash over pencil on paper
  • Size 18.20 x 27.10 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1928