'View of Tantallon Castle and the Bass Rock' by Alexander Nasmyth

‘View of Tantallon Castle and the Bass Rock’ by Alexander Nasmyth

A dramatic work by Nasmyth, of Tantallon. (he’s stretched the Bass Rock, though maybe it was taller then!)

I’ve just realised I need to slightly tweak the second of the two Tantallon paintings below, which needs more mass on the headland and castle. These two were painted with a fellow artist in mind, Linda Cairnes, whose house, which is over 100 years old and overlooks Botany Bay in Australia, happens to be called ‘Tantallon’!

Linda was born and lives in Australia but also lived and worked for many years in the UK. The person who built the house, Linda tells me, was intrigued by Walter Scott’s stanza…

Tantallon vast;
Broad, massive, high, and stretching far,
On a projecting rock it rose,
And round three sides the ocean flows,
The fourth did battled walls enclose
It was a wide and stately square;
Around were lodgings fit and fair,
Here was square keep, there turret high,
Or pinnacle that sought the sky,
Whence oft the Warder could descry
The gathering ocean-storm.

From the poem Marmion
By Sir Walter Scott 1806

I’m delighted that Linda likes my paintings of Tantallon, and it got us chatting via email about our arts experiences; it turns out we’ve both worked as arts organisers for public arts projects in Stoke, so Linda had also enjoyed my blog post a few days ago about a project I also organised in Stoke!

KeithGYou can read about Linda’s excellent work on her website Here. She’s a highly talented artist (I love her portrait paintings) who’s organised many public arts and community projects in the UK and Australia.



On Monday the two Tantallon paintings will be winging their way to  ‘Tantallon’ in Australia, which feels very poetically satisfying to me.

Thanks to Linda – for buying the paintings, and for these pleasingly serendipitous connections! I’ve met several really great people here in the uk from Australia who became good friends then moved back, I must one of these days get over there for a visit, and I’d love to see Tantallon House!

That landscape too, what inspiration…



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