A Day's Fishing: Morning

William McTaggart


Landscapes by McTaggart show his interest with nature and man's relationship alongside it. His vibrant colours and vigorous brushwork are reminiscent of Impressionist painting, but they are rooted in a unique Scottish tradition. This specific painting depicts three children holding fishing equipment in front of a countryside-like landscape. The original sketch for this artwork is located in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.

  • Artist

    William McTaggart

  • Date


  • Medium

    Oil on canvas

  • Object number


  • Dimensions unframed

    44.5 × 60 cm

  • Dimensions framed

    70 × 85 × 10 cm

  • Marks

    Signed and dated bottom right


William McTaggart RSA VPRSW, 1835-1910

McTaggart is probably the most outstanding and innovative landscape painter Scotland has produced, and has been an important influence on successive generations of Scottish painters. In a career spanning over half a century he displayed an exceptional pattern of consistent development. His early work was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, but gradually his technique became looser and he developed his own version of Impressionism. His later work bordered on expressionism. Unlike most of his contemporaries McTaggart did not move to London but spent almost his entire life painting in Scotland. He lived in Edinburgh until 1889, when he moved to Broomieknowe, then in the countryside to the south of the city. 

He was born in Aros, Kintyre, the son of an impoverished crofter. When he was twelve he was apprenticed to a Campbeltown apothecary, who recognised his natural talent for drawing and introduced him to the Glasgow painter Daniel Macnee. The latter advised McTaggart to enrol at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh, which had just appointed Robert Scott Lauder as its co-director, where his fellow students included Hugh Cameron, George Chalmers, Tom Graham and John Pettie. At the academy McTaggart won several prizes for drawing. Although classes were free, he supported himself by accepting portrait commissions, both while a student and later when he married and had a large family. However, as soon as he felt financially secure he concentrated on landscape and seascape, limiting portraiture as much as he could to family and close friends.