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George Fennell Robson, 1788–1833

Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye, Dawn

between 1826 and 1832
Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor, gouache, scraping out and gum on thick, moderately textured, cream wove paper mounted on card
Sheet: 17 3/4 x 25 3/4 inches (45.1 x 65.4 cm)

Inscribed on verso in graphite, center right: "11112"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
goats | landscape | moon | mountains | night | reflection
Associated Places:
Coruisk, Loch | Scotland | Skye, Island of
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IIIF Manifest:

This dramatic watercolor is presumably one of the six views of Loch Coruisk that Robson exhibited at the Society of Painters in Water-Colours between 1826 and 1832. The watercolor shown in 1826, probably the one in the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is similar in composition to the version here, was accompanied by a poetic tag from Sir Walter Scott’s “Lord of the Isles”: “Stranger! If e’er thine ardent step hath traced
The northern realms of ancient Caledon,
Where the proud Queen of Wilderness
Hath placed
By lake and cataract her lonely throne . . .”
(canto 4, lines 1.-.4)
Although critical of Robson’s drawing, color, finish, and compositional sense, John Ruskin, in “Modern Painters I”, commended the sensitivity of the artist’s depiction of mountains in a passage that almost seems to been written with this watercolor of Loch Coruisk in mind:
“They are serious and quiet in the highest degree, certain qualities of atmosphere and texture in them have never been excelled, and certain facts of mountain scenery never but by them expressed; as for instance, the stillness and depth of the mountain tarns, with the reversed imagery of their darkness signed across by the soft lines of faintly touching winds; the solemn flush of the brown fern and glowing heath under evening light; the purple mass of mountains far removed, seen against clear still twilight” (Ruskin, “Works”, vol. 3, p. 193).

Scott Wilcox

Baskett, John, Jules David Prown, Duncan Robinson, Brian Allen, and William Reese. Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art. New Haven : Yale Center for British Art , 2007, cat. no. 104

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Romantic Watercolor : Exhibition Watercolors & Technique (Yale Center for British Art, 2002-10-10 - 2003-01-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Metropole London 1800 - 1840 (Kulturstiftung Ruhr, 1992-06-04 - 1992-11-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Fairest Isle - The Appreciation of British Scenery 1750-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1989-04-12 - 1989-06-25) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Presences of Nature - British Landscape 1780-1830 (Yale Center for British Art, 1982-10-20 - 1983-02-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Works of Splendor and Imagination - The Exhibition Watercolor 1770-1870 (Yale Center for British Art, 1981-09-16 - 1981-11-22) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 290, no. 103, pl. 103, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Louis Hawes, Presences of Nature : British Landscape, 1780-1830, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1982, p. 124, no. I.22, pl. 101, ND1354.4 H38 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : a passion for British art [large print labels], , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 2, no. 103, N5220 M552 P381 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Duncan Robinson, Fairest isle : the appreciation of British scenery, 1750-1850, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1989, p. 19, no. 145, ND1354.4 F35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Ruskin, The works of John Ruskin, vol. 1-39, George Allen, London, 1903-1912, p. 193 (v. 3), , PR5251 C66 1903 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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