SOTHEBY’S LONDON dabbled in a dispersal of Scottish art on November 21 and my pick is a landscape titled Perth from Scone Park by Alexander Nasmyth.
Most Courier readers will be familiar with the view downriver from the North Inch, but visitors to Scone Palace gardens and fans of events such as Farming Yesteryear and Rewind may have taken in this east riverbank vista towards the distant spire of St John’s Kirk.
Prominent is Smeaton’s Bridge, started in 1766 and completed in 1771. It looks curious in its unwidened state – said to have come about in 1869 after years of complaints that folk crossing the bridge had ‘nowhere to go’ when confronted by livestock heading to the town’s markets.
Edinburgh-born Nasmyth (1758-1840) was an assistant to Allan Ramsay between 1772 and 1778. Later, in Rome he developed a friendship with Henry Raeburn. Despite the influence of these two portrait greats, Nasmyth became Scotland’s foremost landscapist – although, admittedly, he also painted the classic bust of his friend, Robert Burns, now in the National Gallery of Scotland and familiar the world over.
Perth from Scone Park, oil on canvas, 18in by 24in, is similar in style and composition to the McManus Galleries’ Dundee from Princes Street, which Nasmyth painted in or around 1824 – similarly bridging the pastoral and townscape and completed around the same time as the Perth view.
There’s a fair bit of artistic jiggery-pokery going on, though, with a suspicious tower block appearing where the dome of Perth Museum, finished in 1824, should be. An early multi, perhaps.
Guided at £6,000-£8,000, Perth from Scone Park found a new home at a mid-estimate £7,500.
Picture: Perth from Scone Park by Alexander Nasmyth, £7,500 (Sotheby’s).