Completed British 19th C, except portraits, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 16 Was 'A Highland Glen' painted by L. J. Graham Clarke?

A Highland Glen
Topic: Subject or sitter

Could this be by L. J. Graham Clarke, who exhibited 'A Highland Glen' in 1883–1884 at the first exhibition of the Society of Painters in Oil Colours?

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. Unfortunately, no firm evidence could be found to support an attribution to L. J. Graham Clarke.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Peter Nahum,

Is it signed or dated or inscribed on the reverse at all? I was director of Sotheby's in charge of Scottish sales and all Victorian sales through the 1970's and early 1980's so I have handled quite a few of these Scottish views, However the artist to which you refer is not known to me. Would it be possible to see a larger image?

Harry Macdonald,

When I first saw this painting my first reaction to it was to believe that the view was that of Glencoe. It seems very close to the photographs I have taken of that area and know well.

Robin Campbell,

'Glencoe' is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to any steep-sided Highland glen, especially by dealers in want of a title. Which of the Glencoe mountains does Mr Macdonald think is depicted on the left here? The river is flowing towards the viewpoint, which makes a match to Glencoe particularly difficult since the craggy peaks there would lie to the right of the stream and the even slope to the left. The light, which is low from the left, is another difficulty, since Glencoe runs east-west. It's not Glencoe.

Martin Hopkinson,

One should not rule out the possibility that the mountain is Snowdon, and therefore unlikely to be Clarke's depiction

Johanna Schofield,

As the painting is owned by Perth and Kinross Council it would be logical to think it may depict a glen somewhere in Perthshire. Quite close to Perth is the Sma Glen with the River Almond, which is still quite desolate.

Robin Campbell,

There are two recent sales of L J Graham-Clarke with images (attached) at Bonham's and Christie's. They are both rather literal paintings, with little or no aerial perspective. He doesn't seem a very likely candidate. The Perth picture seems to be more similar in topic and style to the capriccio works of Peter Graham and the Breanskis.

Kieran Owens,

If Glencoe roughly runs east-west, as per the flow of the River Coe, this painting could be a depiction of that location if the scene was painted close to dawn, with the sun rising in the east, as opposed to the implication, to be drawn from Mr. Campbell's contribution above, that this is a scene with the sun setting in the west. How and ever, as the painting is in a collection on the other side of the country, if it is local to the Perth/Kinross region, perhaps it is a scene depicting dusk from any of the tributaries of the upper reaches of the River Earn, as it heads from the west eastwards towards Perth.

As there have been no new comments since 2017, and without a clear stylistic match between this painting and others by L. J. Graham-Clarke I recommend closing this discussion. It does appear closer in style to Peter Graham and the Breanskis, as Robin suggested, but we have no clear outcome. Although there have been attempts to locate the Highland glen in this painting, this too seems to have evaded a conclusion.

Thank you, Michelle. We will close this discussion after another week (by end of 15 March) unless significant new information comes to light this week.


Thank you for your message. I'm sorry for the delay. I have recently had two weeks of annual leave and I will be off again the week of 21 June.

Amy Fairley, Collections Officer at Perth and Kinross Council, has sent us these images and message: 'As you will see, there is no information on the back of the painting, though there is a signature on the top ledge. I’m afraid I can’t make it out and the accession registers are rather unhelpful. It’s listed as a Highland Glen by an unknown artist.'

2 attachments
Jacob Simon,

Marion signalled the closure of this discussion on 08/03/2021. Time to do so?

The signature is in pencil on the turned edge of the canvas. It appears to read 'Miss Carmichael' and seems more likely an indication of ownership or location rather than the artist.

As Michelle Foote, Group Leader for 'Scottish', Marion and Simon have suggested closure, we can close with no artist identified and the suggestion of L.J. Graham Clarke unproven.

Interesting find. This could well be Peter Graham's 'Highland Glen' in Auckland Art Gallery, which is dated 1891 and so fits the dating in the article as well as the description. Peter Graham's work is especially misty, and our painting could not quite be descrbed as "a mountain swathed in mist, which largely hides the outlines"