untitled (landscape)

attributed to: Jane Nasmyth (b.1788, d.1867)

circa 1800
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Object Detail

depicts ALVA HOUSE STIRLINGSHIRE THE SEAT OF J.R. JOHNSTONE, ESQ. The setting - a winding river at the foot of a range of seven steep hills with a flat river plane dotted with trees along the river bank. The key focus of the work is the three-storey house with central gable nested at the lower part of the forested hillside. The forest shows signs of autumnal changes, highlighted in red. The facade of Alva House appears to have a stepped central section [Palladian] which has four windows on the two visible upper levels and is surmounted by a flat gable. The two wings each have four windows to each three storeys. The front ground floor fenestration is partly concealed by trees. there are four massive chimneys extending from the roof-two gable end chimneys and two aligning with the sides of the stepped section of the facade. The house is at some distance from the open fields on the foothills. One field extends steeply to the left of the house. A small gabled cottage is located to the lower right of Alva House. At the centre of the painting is depicted two industrial buildings, possibly a distillery and another gabled building. The taller building could be a chapel-another two-storey gabled building. In the centre foreground is a series of gabled farm buildings adjacent to a cliff beside the river. Other buildings can be seen in the far distance. two figures can be seen standing by the river and some cattle graze on the river flats. The foreground, which has been painted last, is the most heavily painted. The left foreground, which serves to frame the work, depicts a gnarled tree with remnant foliage and twisted and aged branches. It stands on a rocky outcrop or sunken depression. Surrounding this are the remnants of post and rail fencing and shrubbery. Two men, possibly rural workers, one standing wearing a hat and carrying a stick, the other seated, wearing a red shirt and a broad brimmed hat, obscure the landscape. to the right a rocky outcrop and bushes and a tree frame the view. The sky is painted as a naturalistic cloud study with massing’s of grey clouds, white tinged with pinks, and soft pinks suggesting the sun is concealed behind them. A large section of blue sky is evident to the upper quarter and this mutes to pinks and greys behind the gnarled tree branches to the lower left. The palette is broadly in browns, greens red, blue, pink.

FRAME: Gilded carved wood and gesso. Possibly a late 18th or early frame in the Rococo manner. A quadrooned inner moulding is surrounded by a flat moulding, on the lower part is painted: [NASMYTH] - ALVA HOUSE, STIRLINGSHIRE, THE SEAT OF J R JOHNSTONE ESQR. The carved outer section of the frame is elaborately carved. The corners are formed of joined acanthus leaves and a central flower. The acanthus leaves extend to form flattened curves with moulded flower and leaf decoration. The centre of each side is embellished with an elaborate symmetrical leaf moulding which is further embellished with scrolls and flower and leaf moulding. Part of the frame is pierced revealing the background carving in the partly concealed concave profile.
Maker and role
attributed to: Jane Nasmyth (b.1788, d.1867)
Production place
Production date
circa 1800
circa 1830-circa 1840
Media description
oil on canvas
865 x 1200 mm
Measurement details
height: 865mm
width: 1200mm
Credit line
Foundation Collection, 1989
Project credit line
This digital record has been made available on TJC Collection Online through a significant donation from the OPENING DOORS fund, the generous support of The Friends of The Johnston Collection, and Digitisation Champion Christine Bell
Accession number