Alexander NasmythScottish Painter,
was a Scottish portrait and landscape painter, often called the father of Scottish landscape painting". Edinburgh Castle and Nor'Loch, circa 1780.Born in Edinburgh, he studied at the Royal High School and the Trustees Academy under Alexander Runciman, and, having been apprenticed as an heraldic painter to a coachbuilder, he, at the age of sixteen, attracted the attention of Allan Ramsay, who took the youth with him to London, and employed him upon the subordinate portions of his works. Nasmyth returned to Edinburgh in 1778, and was soon largely patronized as a portrait painter. He also assisted Mr Miller of Dalswinton, as draughtsman, in his mechanical researches and experiments; and, this gentleman having generously offered the painter a loan to enable him to pursue his studies abroad, he left in 1782 for Italy, where he remained two years. Robert Burns, 1787.On his return he painted the excellent portrait of Robert Burns, now in the Scottish National Gallery, well known through Walker's engraving. Political feeling at that time ran high in Edinburgh, and Nasmyth's pronounced Liberal opinions, which he was too outspoken and sincere to disguise, gave offence to many of his aristocratic patrons, and led to the diminution of his practice as a portraitist. In his later years, accordingly, he devoted himself mainly to landscape work, and did not disdain on occasion to set his hand to scene-painting for the theatres. He has been styled, not unjustly, the father of Scottish landscape arte His subjects are carefully finished and coloured, but are wanting in boldness and freedom.