About this artwork

White Horse Close is located at the foot of the Canongate, opposite the new Scottish Parliament Building, and near the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Close, which dates from 1623, once served as stables for the Palace and later as a terminus for stage coaches arriving in Edinburgh at the end of the week-long journey from London. Sir Walter Scott, in his novel 'Waverley', describes how Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite officers lodged here when they entered Edinburgh in 1745. By the time McCulloch painted this view in 1845, the buildings had become very run-down. Since then the area has undergone various redevelopments and few of the buildings that remain today are original.

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.