This picture reflects the atmosphere of Scott’s poem, the Lay of the Last Minstrel. Two shepherd lads and their dogs gaze across the Tweed valley to where an angler fishes peacefully and cattle come down to the river to drink. Ward visited the Borders in about 1806, at the invitation of Lord Somerville. During his stay he made two studies of the area: a watercolour for this picture (now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) and a drawing for its companion piece, Melrose Abbey, The Pavilion in the Distance. Ward trained as an engraver but began working in oil in about 1790. He was influenced initially by his brother-in-law, George Morland and later by the work of Rubens. He went on to produce a number of major works, including a series of dramatic landscapes in the Romantic tradition.