British 19th C, except portraits, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 14 Can the view depicted in this work be confirmed as Rosyth Castle?

Landscape with Castle (possibly Stalker Castle)
Topic: Subject or sitter

This is not Castle Stalker which is in a mountainous region. It is Rosyth Castle on the north side of the Firth of Forth where the hills on both sides of the coast are relatively low. Compare the two paintings of Rosyth Castle at Pittencrief House by G. A. Reid and Andrew Mercer:

http://bit.ly/2cLLTeN

Could a location be confirmed, or more found about the painting?

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

14 comments

James Brown,

My first impression is that it is Lochranza, Isle of Arran. This has been confirmed by a number of experts who are members of the Scottish Castles Association, including one who collects old postcards of castles and another who has amassed a collection of 28,000 of his own photographs of mostly Scottish Castles. The rear corner of Lochranza collapsed in the 1890s so this will not show in the painting.

Sadly, CultureNL does not have any documentation about this painting which helps us to identify the subject. We are open to suggestion, but currently unable to confirm, as Lochranza and Rosyth Castle have both been put forward as plausible locations.

Martin Hopkinson,

JJ Bannatyne's painting of Lochranza Castle [Gracefield Art Centre, Dumfries] suggests that the landscape behind the castle is mountainous, while William Beattie Brown's painting said to be of Lochranza [Glasgow Museums Resource Centre] shows a setting much more like that visible in this painting. If Beattie Brown's painting is certainly of Lochranza that would strongly support James Brown's identification. The configuration of the coast and hinterland at Rosyth, being on the Firth of Forth, is very different from that depicted by Bannatyne.

Helen Julia Rand,

Attached is recent photo of Rosyth Castle which I took from a cruise liner at the port. I imagine the Castle is derelict, certainly a ruin. Perhaps Heritage Scotland could advise further. Certainly worth another cruise to revisit the locale!

1 attachment
Douglas Dodds,

It's a bit of tourist cliché nowadays, but could it be Eilean Donan, viewed from the north west? There's a promontory just off the A87 from Kyle of Lochalsh that gives a similar view - see the attached postcard image, found online. The headland to the left of the painting looks very similar too.

The castle was a ruin from ca.1715 until it was restored in the early 20th century. There's now a footbridge across to it from the headland, but this didn't exist until modern times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilean_Donan

To follow up Martin's comments, William Beattie-Brown's painting of Lochranza in Glasgow Museums (http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/lochranza-castle-83151/) does seem to be a fairly accurate portrayal of the castle (see modern photo http://www.buttlodge.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/lochranza-2.jpg), and the background landscape of the Argyll peninsula is also similar. The view by Ballantyne is looking on precisely the opposite direction, inland to Arran, so I think both identifications are correct.

The quality and condition of the painting under discussion and the image makes the identification of the castle a little hard. But the castellated tower and central gable are in the right places, and given possible loss of height in the right hand wall of the castle, I am prepared to support the identification as Lochranza as plausible.

Malcolm Fowles,

I opened the present image, the Beattie-Brown image, the large variety of images of Lochranza Castle at http://www.geograph.org.uk/of/lochranza+castle, and some appropriate selections from there such as http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4139447, all at the same time so that I could rapidly tab between them.

One might even sequence the views by partial collapses. The central window endures, as does the relation of the chimneys, the gable angles, the promontory's relation to the castle, and the scale of Kilbrannon Sound in the background.

I had only one "but", which is our left-hand window. However the detailed photo reveals an arrow slit well-placed, to which our painting gets much closer than Beattie-Brown. So either actual restoration or artistic licence could be at play.

I think you can safely wrap this one up.

Donald Livingstone,

i.e. it's Lochranza. It's on a shingle spit. The thatched building would also suggest somewhere in the west.

Edward Stone,

The collection has been contacted about the recommendation that this painting depicts Lochranza Castle.

Simon Baillie,

The situation shown by the hills and line of the shoreline, could possibly be Barnbogle castle, on Dalmeny estate. This was the family seat before Dalmeny house was built around 1818

Edward Stone,

The collection has been contacted about this recommendation and we will relay any feedback we receive.

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