Manchester Art Gallery

Highland Cattle, Perthshire

Peter Graham, 1836 - 1921



Highland Cattle, Perthshire

Peter Graham 1836 - 1921

Summary

A misty highland landscape with three horned highland cattle in the centre foreground, which are grazing by a still pool of water. A fourth cow is visible in the background to the left, also grazing. The swirling cloud seemingly blends into the rising hills behind.

Display Label

A Highland Romance: Victorian Views of Scottishness The popular idea of Scottishness in the 1800s came from Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832), who fictionalised exciting episodes from Scottish history. He created a colourful Highland identity for his nation, based on the customs and landscape of the sparsely populated mountainous areas. For Lowland Scots – the majority of the population – it was a fiction they took up gladly, perhaps because it emphasised difference from the English. However, most Victorians, Scots and English, felt cultural difference to be perfectly compatible with political union. Queen Victoria’s regular visits to Scotland encouraged the English to view it as a simple country retreat. By the end of her reign her wealthier English subjects came to regard Scotland principally as an arena for shooting, fishing and golf. Artists from both sides of the border visualised the stags, castles, mountains and tartan that made up this Victorian myth. Their paintings reaffirmed impressions gleaned from Scott’s novels and from tourist guide books to Scotland. The fact that Scotland was an industrialised nation taking an active part in the British Empire was largely ignored. Popular art and literature fed the ‘tartan monster’, refining a checklist of clichés that even today remain key to the marketing of Scotland. A number of local industrialist patrons who bought paintings with Scottish subjects later gave them to Manchester Art Gallery. As a result the Gallery has a particularly good late Victorian collection. Here is ‘Scottishness’, as seen from Manchester in the late 1800s.


Object Name

Highland Cattle, Perthshire

Creators Name

Peter Graham

Date Created

1866

Dimensions

unframed: 60.9cm x 91.4cm
framed: 95.3cm x 126.5cm

accession number

1917.207

Collection Group

fine art
British
painting

Place of creation

England

Support

canvas

Medium

oil paint

On Display

Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 8
View all

Credit

Mr James Thomas Blair bequest, 1917.

Legal

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