Alexander Nasmyth


SCOTTISH 1758-1840

Alexander Nasmyth was described by his artist colleague, Sir David Wilkie, as ‘the founder of the landscape painting school of Scotland,’ due to both his commitment to the genre and the legacy of his teaching. In fact, his training and career was split across both landscape and portraiture, beginning with his early tutelage under James Cumming and Alexander Runcimann within the Norie tradition of decorative landscape painting, followed by a period in the studio of the renowned portraitist Allan Ramsay.

Nasmyth then established his own successful portrait practice and developed a particular niche painting conversation pieces. These were often family groups in front of their residence and grounds, which was a combination of the two aspects of his training and talent, and also an acknowledgment of his personal interest in architecture. Two years in Italy allowed him to further develop his landscape approach, these works often including an architectural element.

In Edinburgh, he turned fully to landscape painting around 1792 as portrait commissions began to reduce, possibly due to his increasingly severe political views being incompatible with those of his potential subjects.

A key figure of the Edinburgh cultural Renaissance at the start of the nineteenth century, Nasmyth was also an engineer, having designed and constructed several bridges, as well as a teacher of the arts.

 Request an Auction Estimate 


Images Add file
Select fileChange Remove



Forthcoming Auctions

Scottish Paintings & Sculpture

Scottish Paintings & Sculpture

Thu, 8th Dec 2022 18:00
Last consignment: Wed, 12th Oct 2022


Discover More


Buying & Selling at Auction

Buying at Auction

At Lyon & Turnbull we want to make buying at auction, either in the saleroom or online as easy and enjoyable as possible. With both specialists and client services available across a wide range of locations so whatever your interest or query we are always on hand to help.


Here we explain the whole process of buying at auction ⇒

Selling at Auction

Holding approximately 30 auctions per annum, we combine personal, one-to-one service with a team of internationally experienced specialists selling antiques and art at auction can be easy. Our team are on hand to assist at every stage, keeping you up-to-date throughout the process from initial valuation to settlement.


Here we take you through the process of selling at auction ⇒