About this artwork

This view of Edinburgh appears to have been painted before the building of the New Town. The viewpoint towards the castle is from the Craigleith quarries in the north-west of the city, from where most of the stone for this astonishing urban development would come. At this time the city prospered and as a result the decorative arts were becoming increasingly important. James Norie senior, who was primarily a house-painter, painted a number of panelled rooms in the city. This picture, painted in a monochromatic colour scheme characteristic of the Norie family, was probably made to be inset in painted wooden panelling above a fireplace.

James Norie senior

James Norie senior

James Norie and two of his sons, James and Robert, made their names as decorative landscape painters. Some of their works were commissioned as topographical records of specific locations but most of their paintings are imaginative, idealised views. These were strongly influenced by the classical landscapes of Claude Lorraine and Gaspard Dughet. Many were designed as elements in interior decorative schemes, sometimes painted in monochrome rather than full colour. Norie senior, originally from Morayshire, trained in Edinburgh with Thomas Warrender. In 1729, he became a founder member of the Edinburgh Academy of St Luke, the earliest art academy in the city.