About this artwork

Herdman's detailed description of the riverbank, with a glimpse of a distant mountain slope, captures the varied colours and textures of the vegetation, rocky terrain and the sparkling reflections of the water. He seems aware of the influential critic and artist John Ruskin's work and his insistence on the importance of close observation and truth to nature. His friend Joseph Noel Paton, a close associate of the pre-Raphaelite painter Millais, may have encouraged this. The island of Arran with its magnificent scenery and fascinating geology inspired many artists and Corrie was a favourite base for Herdman's family holidays.

Robert Herdman

Robert Herdman

Herdman specialised in painting portraits and Scottish historical subjects, but also produced some notable landscapes in watercolour. He was a student of Robert Scott Lauder at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh and was encouraged to draw from nature. He was also strongly influenced by Lauder's admiration for the rich colour of Venetian painting and traveled to Italy at least twice. Herdman chose to stay in Edinburgh rather than move to London and established a successful practice. He was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1863.