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Patrick Nasmyth was the son of a landscape painter named Alexander. He had pioneered a specifically Scottish imagery in tune with resurgent Scots nationalism, but his son lived and worked in England and pursued a more formulaic route. Patrick’s often generalised landscapes were modelled on the seventeenth-century Dutch art favoured by collectors. They proved very popular.

Patrick’s brother, James, summed up the stock features of such pictures: ‘decayed pollard trees, old moss-grown orchards, combined with cottages and farmhouses in the most paintable state of decay, with tangled hedges and neglected fences overrun with vegetation.’

September 2004