About this artwork

Just off the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland lies the island of Iona, famed for its rare and unspoilt beauty. This was one of Scott's favourite places to work. The white sandy beaches, pure light and extremes of weather offered the artist extraordinary possibilities for rendering landscape. This carefully observed watercolour is a study for Scott's large oil painting of 1887, also in the Galleries' collection. Scott has chosen to depict Port na Curachan (Bay of the Coracle) at the southern tip of the island. It was here in 563 AD that, according to legend, St Columba and his twelve monastic followers landed their coracle after sailing from Ireland.

  • title: Study for the Painting ‘Port na Curachan, Iona’
  • accession number: D 5133
  • artist: William Bell ScottScottish (1811 - 1890)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: The sea Christian saints
  • materials: Watercolour with touches of bodycolour on grey paper
  • date created: 1886
  • measurements: 22.80 x 27.90 cm
  • credit line: Purchased with the aid of funds from the Barrogill Keith Bequest 1985

William Bell Scott

William Bell Scott

Scott's detailed and highly coloured paintings of historical, religious and contemporary themes reflect the ideas and concerns he shared with his Pre-Raphaelite friends, in particular, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Scott and his brother, David, trained at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh and worked for their father, an engraver, before launching their own careers as painters. Scott's association with the Pre-Raphaelite movement followed his move to London in 1837. He was then appointed Master of the Government School of Design in Newcastle in 1843. Scott painted his famous murals, including 'Iron and Coal', a scene of contemporary industrial life, in Wallington Hall.