Completed Scotland: Artists and Subjects 7 Can anyone recognise the location depicted in this painting?

A Scottish Glen
Topic: Other

As Curator of The Ruskin Museum, Coniston, I am wondering whether anyone out there may be able to identify the location from the topography depicted in our painting, 'A Scottish Glen' by William Lakin Taylor?

There is no title attached. We think it depicts a Scottish scene rather than a Lake District one (having asked various local Mountain Rescue team members/rock climbers/hill walkers), but don't know whether it is identifiable through all the Scotch mist/'weather'!

On the other hand, having looked at the other pictures by William Lakin Taylor on the Your Paintings website, Derby Museums' landscape, 'Flowing from the Fells' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/flowing-from-the-fells-61114) clearly depicts a real - and topographically accurate - view of the Langdale Pikes seen from just above Skelwith Force, with the river Brathay in spate. W. L. Turner spent a lot of time in both the Lakes and the Highlands, indulging his passion for stormy weather - but it does rather hide the topography.

The Ruskin Museum, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Alice Read,

The collection have emailed and approved the following amendments. The title has now been amended to 'Glencoe'. The painting description has also been amended to:

'William Lakin Turner specialised in large, wild, ‘Romantic’ oils of Scottish or Lakeland woodland and mountain scenes.

He exhibited with the Lake Artists Society from its inaugural show in Coniston Institute in 1905, when his ‘Highland River after Rain’ overwhelmed other works.

Whether this is the painting now at The Ruskin Museum is not recorded: until the advent of the PCF’s Art Detective advisory site, our picture was vaguely titled 'A Scottish Glen', featuring a similarly turbulent sky, an inhospitably windswept glen, and a river in flood. With no label or inscription to provide a definite location, this seemed a generically ‘Highland’ painting.

We are thus extremely grateful to the Art Detectives who have responded, in consensus, to identify the scene as being in Glencoe, The Glen of Weeping, a popular destination for tourists and an emotive subject for artists from the early nineteenth century, being the scene of the terrible massacre of the MacDonalds on 13th February 1692. This explains the painting’s eerie atmosphere: one of the first infamous attempts to subdue the Highlands and the Jacobite Highland clans took place here, and the ghosts still walk for those who have the ‘sight’.

Because the summits are shrouded in mist and cloud, it is difficult to be explicit about the artist’s actual viewpoint. It is suggested that he was probably looking towards The Three Sisters.'

These changes will appear on the Your Paintings website by the end of June 2014. Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.

6 comments

Martin Hopkinson,

This resembles Glencoe - see other representations on BBC Your Paintings

Glasgow Museums,

It seems likely that it is Glencoe, which was such a popular destination for tourists and subject for artists from the early 19th century, particularly because of its historical associations, being the scene of the terrible 1692 massacre. However, from the little munro-bagging that I've done I would say it's hard to be sure when you can't see the full peaks.