About this artwork

McCulloch's vigorous watercolour sketch of the ruins of old Inverlochy Castle was produced during one of his summer tours of the Highlands, and it inspired his large oil painting Inverlochy Castle also in the collection. Its name derives from 'Inver', Gaelic for 'at the mouth of' and Lochy, the name of the river that runs into Loch Linnhe close by. In 1645 the castle was the site of the famously bloody victory of the Marquis of Montrose over the Marquis of Argyll, who lost 1500 men. The thirteenth century Castle nestles in the shadow of Scotland's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and its isolated location is emphasised in the sketch by the arched foreground trees, parting to reveal the now peaceful ruin.

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.