About this artwork

Until well into the eighteenth century, Dysart was one of the main fishing and trading ports in Fife, exporting mainly coal and sea salt to northern Europe. During the 1850s the rail network expanded in Scotland, and Bough made frequent sketching excursions to the coastal towns and villages of Fife. Worked up from sketches made on the spot, this picture is a triumph of artistic licence. His discreet repositioning of the east and west piers of the harbour intensifies the foreground drama of the small fishing boats battling against an easterly gale to avoid shipwreck at the narrow entrance. Other prominent features such as the shipbuilding yard, the harbourmaster’s house and the whale oil processing shed have been accurately represented and are still immediately recognisable today.

  • title: Fishing Boats Running Into Port: Dysart Harbour
  • accession number: NG 2821
  • artist: Samuel BoughEnglish (1822 - 1878)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art One(In Storage)
  • object type: Painting
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1854
  • measurements: 60.80 x 91.00 cm (framed: 74.00 x 104.00 x 4.50 cm)
  • credit line: Gifted by the Martin Connell Charitable Trust, 2007
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Samuel Bough

Samuel Bough

Although born in England, Bough became one of the most influential figures in the development of nineteenth-century Scottish landscape painting. A largely self-taught artist, he spent the early part of his career in Manchester and Glasgow painting scenes for theatrical sets. Bough later dedicated himself to landscape painting, and became adept at illustrating the fleeting effects of weather. This is especially clear in his paintings of Cadzow Forest in South Lanarkshire. He settled in Edinburgh in 1855, and was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Academy the following year. Bough enjoyed tremendous popularity as an artist. His views of rivers and ports of the 1850s and 1860s show his masterful combination of realism and expressive colouring to capture natural effects.