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A View of Tantallon Castle with the Bass Rock

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A View of Tantallon Castle with the Bass Rock About 1816

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
This dramatic view of Tantallon Castle in East Lothian was probably painted about 1816. It shows the Romantic transformation of a type of motif which Nasmyth had begun to explore in the 1790s; large-scale panoramic views of Scottish country houses and castles. In these scenes, he sought topographical accuracy combined with picturesque sentiment. Here, Nasmyth’s choice of subject probably reflects his creative response to the immense reputation of Sir Walter Scott, whose epic poem ‘Marmion’ (1808) celebrated the historical associations of Tantallon. Nasmyth’s composition is also strongly reminiscent of the dramatic shipwrecks painted by Claude Joseph Vernet in the mid-eighteenth century.

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.


Refers to artworks that emphasise drama and emotion.


Refers to landscape pictures that faithfully represent a real place as it is seen rather than an imaginary or distorted landscape.

Composition, Romantic, Topographical


  • Acc. No. NG 2627
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 92.00 x 122.30 cm (framed: 119.40 x 149.99 x 9.20 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund 1994