Tuesday, February 9, 2010

John Thomson

"...Visited the Exhibition on my way home from the Court. The new rooms are most splendid, and several good pictures. The Institution has subsisted but five years, and it is astonishing how much superior the worst of the present collection are to the teaboard-looking things which first appeared. John Thomson, of Duddingston, has far the finest picture in the Exhibition, of a large size—subject Dunluce, a ruinous castle of the Antrim family, near the Giant's Causeway, with one of those terrible seas and skies which only Thomson can paint..."
From Scott's Journal for February 9, 1826

John Thomson was born about seven years after Walter Scott.  He was born to a minister, and followed in his father's footsteps, becoming minister of Duddingston Kirk, near Edinburgh.  From an early age, he showed a proclivity for painting landscapes, such as Walter Scott appreciated.  Many of these were the Ayrshire landscapes he grew up with.

Scott and Thomson probably met around 1793 when Thomson enrolled at Edinburgh University.  Many years later (around 1826), Thomson collaborated with Joseph Turner producing engravings for Scott's "Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland".

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