A landscape by Alexander Nasmyth, painted in 1825, on display at the Scottish National Gallery. This is Edinburgh a few years after the completion of the New Town, looking east along Princes Street. We are at the foot of the ‘earthen mound’ which was built to scale the steep drop of castle rock, using excavated material from the New Town foundations. The basin is the recently drained Nor’Loch which will form Princes Street Gardens. In the foreground are the first columns of William Playfair’s Royal Institution, now known as the Royal Scottish Academy.
The artist Alexander Nasmyth was born and studied in Edinburgh, originally planning a career in architecture - a subject which appears in much of his work. But he was spotted by the celebrated portrait painter Allan Ramsay who trained him in portraiture, though he then travelled to study landscape painting in Italy where he was influenced by artists like Claude - perhaps why his Scottish landscapes seem to be bathed in golden Mediterranean light.