Completed British 19th C, except portraits, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 9 Does John B. Fleming's 'Town and Bay' depict Greenock?

Town and Bay
Topic: Subject or sitter

This is probably Greenock from the West. Fleming painted several paintings of the town from the East.

The collection, Bury Art Museum, note:

''Town and Bay' by John Fleming was given to Bury Art Museum in 1915 and forms part of the Thomas Aitken Bequest. There is nothing on the small mahogany panel to indicate either which town or which bay are depicted. The painting is clearly signed with initials and dated 1828. There is, however, a framer’s label on the reverse that reads as follows; “From / Laurie & Fleming / Carvers, Gilders, Artists’ Colourmen / And Fine Art Dealers / 1 Bank Street, Greenock / Established 1816”. There might well be no connection whatever between the label and the scene depicted on the panel, but the co-incidence is striking.

It is great that the 'town and bay' have been identified and I am pleased that there did turn out to be a connection between the framer's label on the back and the scene depicted on the front; this is quite rare. I am happy for 'possibly Greenock' to be added to the title information.

It would be good to compare it with the artist's other views of Greenock and possibly the 'Scotland: Artists and Subjects' group could help here.'

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Edward Stone,

This painting is now titled 'Campbeltown'.

This amendment will appear on the Art UK website in due course. 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.


I must question Martin's identification of this view with Greenock. Greenock is not in a tight bay like this, as Fleming's views of Geenock from the east show and maps confirm. His 'The Clyde' in the University of Edinburgh ( probably does show Greenock from the west, with Port Glasgow behind and Dumbarton Rock in the distance.

'Town and Bay' is so full of specfic details of topography and buildings that it surely can be identified with more certainty. It would be well worth further research.

Alan Crombie,

I would concur with Andrew that this isn't Greenock (I'm not a local but I did work there a few years ago and I refreshed my knowledge by browsing Google images) however it could be a pre-railway view of Gourock which is the next town along the coast and is on a bay. It's been mashed about by a couple of centuries of civil and military engineers its difficult to be sure whre the original coastline was!

However the local McLean Museum and Art Gallery at Telephone 01475 715624
15 Kelly Street, Greenock, PA16 8JX
have a good photo library of views going back to the dawn of photography and beyond. From my previous experience of them they will be very helpful.

That church in the centre should help someone so drop them a line and let us know how you get on.


Martin Hopkinson,

Indeed Cambeltown it must be - I should have looked beyond the Clyde - and did not realist that Cambeltown was as big as this then. Well done, indeed, Oliver!

Edward Stone,

The collection has been contacted about this recommendation.

Bury Art Museum,

This is great news. I am glad that the town and bay have now been conclusively identified and that the identification has been in a sense confirmed by an engraving closer in date to the painting than we are now. I am happy to accept this identification and will amend the records here in Bury.
Very many thanks to everybody involved.