A Family Tradition: The Art of Patrick Nasmyth


Patrick Nasmyth,Edinburgh from the Braids  
Yale Center for British Art

Today’s subject is the esteemed Scottish artist Patrick Nasmyth.  Nasmyth was born in January 1786 to a family of painters.  His father, Alexander Nasmyth, specialised in landscape paintings.  Nasmyth was one of eleven children, several of whom also became painters.  Nasmyth had two strokes of bad luck in his early years.  While preparing to go and sketch with his father, he injured his right hand and spent the rest of his career painting with his left hand.  At age 17, Nasmyth was struck deaf.


Patrick Nasmyth,
A View of Cessford and the Village of Caverton, Roxboroughshire in the Distance  
Yale Center for British Art

He travelled to London in 1810 where he showed at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists, and the British Institution, as well as important venues in Edinburgh.


Patrick Nasmyth,Penthurst Place, Kent, 
Yale Center for British Art

Nasmyth is often referred to as ‘the English Hobbema,’ reflecting the influence of 17th century Dutch landscape artists including Meyndert Hobbema and Jacob van Ruisdael.  One of Nasmyth’s younger brothers, James, wrote an autobiography that features comments on Patrick’s artistic education and development.  He noted that Patrick enjoyed studying the form and qualities of clouds and took great enjoyment in painting skies.  Patrick was most fond of capturing ‘the careless grace of Nature’ in his works.

Nasmyth Penthurst Met

Patrick Nasmyth, Near Penthurst, Kent 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nasmyth died in 1831 at the age of 45.  Nasmyth’s gravestone reads, ‘He was a native of Scotland, and his country as justly proud of his talents.  As a delineator of landscape, the productions of his pencil, tasteful and vivid, reflect honour on the department of the British School.  In his manner he was as modest and unassuming as in his profession he was skilful and eminent.  This stone was erected by the resident Scotish artists in London – a humble but sincere tribute to his memory.’

H8.87 copy

Patrick Nasmyth, Figures in a Landscape 
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We are delighted to have a Patrick Nasmyth painting in our collection.  It is a wonderful landscape with figures that came from the collection of Sir Peter and Lady Crossman of Tetworth Hall.


Patrick Nasmyth, Figures in a Landscape 
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Nasmyth’s work can been in major collections, including several examples from the Yale Center for British Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as shown in the pictures above.  Next time you are wandering through a museum, have a look for Nasmyth’s paintings.

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