About this artwork

This charming watercolour shows the River Forth at South Queensferry, a small town near Edinburgh. Queensferry takes its name from Queen Margaret (later Saint Margaret), who had married Malcom III in 1070. The ceremony took place across the river in Dunfermline, Fife. There, Margaret set up a priory with Benedictine monks which soon became a place of pilgrimage. This created a high demand for ferries to carry the religious travellers across the river Forth to Dunfermline. The Queen’s Ferry was paid for by Margaret and would depart and arrive at various points along the shore near the village that soon adopted the name Queensferry. The first bridge to span the river was the famous Forth Rail bridge in 1890, more than a century after Allan painted this watercolour.

  • title: The Firth of Forth at South Queensferry, near Edinburgh
  • accession number: D 153
  • artist: David AllanScottish (1744 - 1796)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • subject: Rivers
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: Dated 1791
  • measurements: 27.20 x 41.30 cm
  • credit line: David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy transferred 1910

David Allan

David Allan

Allan was born in Alloa, on the Firth of Forth, and attended the Foulis Academy in Glasgow for seven years. In 1767 he moved to Rome, where he lived for ten years; this was the most successful period of his life. In Rome Allan painted ambitious historical pictures, portraits, caricatures and genre scenes. On returning to London in 1777, he spent two years trying to establish himself. Unsuccessful and ill, he returned to Scotland where he specialised in painting family groups. He also produced book illustrations and was appointed master of the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh.