About this artwork

Lunan Bay, on the Angus coast, north of Dundee, is the sliver of golden white sand on the distant shoreline in this watercolour study. Fettes Douglas has used one of the grassy cliffs that flank Lunan Bay as his vantage point. An array of muted sombre tones was used to depict the undulating mass of land. This contrasts with the light washes that convey the clarity and fluidity of the sea. The only inhabitants of the landscape are the two tiny figures perched on the sloping cliff, and although they are together, they do not face each other. Their mutual detachment adds to the subdued and isolated atmosphere of the picture.

Sir William Fettes Douglas

Sir William Fettes Douglas

A self-taught painter, William Fettes Douglas worked as a bank clerk in Edinburgh for ten years. He was a keen antiquarian and collector, and his interests in those fields influenced his choice of subject-matter which sometimes included alchemy, astrology and magic. Enormously learned, he was appointed Director of the National Gallery of Scotland in 1877 and five years later, President of the Royal Scottish Academy.