About this artwork

From 1876 McTaggart returned summer after summer to his native Kintyre in the west of Scotland to ‘court the sea’, lured by the everchanging light, the remarkable translucency of the water, and the sense of vastness produced by the unbroken horizon of Machrihanish Bay. With its exquisite colour harmonies, this tranquil picture probably dates from the late 1870s when the artist was preoccupied with a quest for overall tonal and textural unity. 'Quiet Sunset' was once owned by his son-in-law and first biographer, Sir James Lewis Caw, who rated McTaggart as the equal of J M W Turner as a marine painter.

see media
  • title: Quiet Sunset, Machrihanish
  • accession number: NG 2140
  • artist: William McTaggartScottish (1835 - 1910)
  • gallery: Paxton House
  • object type: Painting
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: Unknown
  • measurements: 38.00 x 45.90 cm (framed: 61.60 x 69.20 x 6.00 cm)
  • credit line: Bequest of Sir James Lewis Caw 1951
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

William McTaggart

William McTaggart

McTaggart's land and seascapes reflect his fascination with nature and man's relationship with it. His bold colours and vigorous brushwork find parallels in Impressionist painting, although essentially form part of a distinct Scottish tradition. They also echo qualities in paintings by Constable and Turner, whom he admired. McTaggart was born on the Mull of Kintyre and returned there frequently from his studio in Glasgow and later from his home in Broomieknow, just outside Edinburgh. He trained in Edinburgh at the Trustees' Academy and enjoyed early success when elected as an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy aged twenty-four.