Scott has set the Nativity in a picturesque tumbledown barn near Penkill Castle. He recorded the variety of natural and man-made textures and materials as faithfully as possible, allowing the barn's perspective to draw attention to the Holy Family. Angels watch from the rafters, as shepherds arrive to pay their respects. The procession of the Magi approaches at the right. Scott had painted murals in Penkill Castle, the family home of his intimate friend, Alice Boyd, whom he had met in Newcastle. This painting was in her extensive private collection.