About this artwork

Burntisland lies between Aberdour and Kinghorn on the south coast of Fife. Much decayed in the eighteenth century, it became popular in the nineteenth century as a holiday resort. Wilson shows a view across the old harbour towards Rossend Castle in the middle distance. The castle had a romantic history with associations with Mary, Queen of Scots, Cromwell and the Jacobites. This serene harbour scene is bathed in a golden diffused light that recalls the classical seaport paintings of Claude Lorraine that were very popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wilson’s picture, however, shows figures and activities from contemporary life. This painting is probably one of a number of views of towns on the Firth of Forth which Wilson exhibited in Edinburgh in 1824.

  • title: A View of Burntisland
  • accession number: NG 605
  • artist: Andrew WilsonScottish (c 1775 - 1848)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Harbours and quays
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1823
  • measurements: 77.90 x 119.00 cm
  • credit line: Bequest of Duncan MacNeill, Lord Colonsay 1874
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson

Wilson trained as an artist at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh and at the Royal Academy Schools in London. He was successful and respected as both a practicing artist and an art dealer. His landscape paintings reflect his Italian voyages, literally in the case of his Italian vistas, but also figuratively in his classicising use of suffused light and stillness that he brought to his landscapes painted at home. After eight years as master of the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh, Wilson settled in Italy in 1826, where his chief activity was picture dealing. Some of the treasures that now form the National Gallery of Scotland’s collection passed through his hands, including Van Dyck’s Lomellini Family (NG 120) and Jacopo Bassano's Adoration of the Kings (NG 100).