About this artwork

The ruins of Inverlochy Castle, near Fort William, are clearly reflected in the sweeping stretch of water. The remains of thick walls and rounded towers complement the ridges of the mountains behind, while the smoking chimney of the crofters' cottage echoes the wisps of cloud enveloping the slopes. The scene's stillness contrasts markedly with the area's turbulent past. McCulloch substituted the rowing boat in the foreground for the Highland cattle in his original study. The Royal Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland bought the painting in 1857 for the national collection of Scottish art, which later passed to the National Gallery of Scotland.

Horatio McCulloch

Horatio McCulloch

McCulloch's landscape paintings celebrate the romantic scenery of the Scottish Highlands, emphasising its dramatic grandeur. McCulloch, from Glasgow, was influenced by John Knox's luminous paintings, Sir Walter Scott's vivid prose and the expressive pictures by John Thompson of Duddingston, Edinburgh. McCulloch's summer sketching tours of the West Highlands inspired some of his most powerful paintings, which were created back in the studio. His landscapes combine a magnificent sense of scale with an emotionally charged atmosphere, and contributed to the popular Victorian image of the Highlands. McCulloch also recorded the crumbling houses of Edinburgh's Old Town, and was among the first artists to focus on the urban and industrial landscape of Scotland.