Art UK has updated its cookies policy. By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies. To find out more read our updated Use of Cookies policy and our updated Privacy policy.

Close

A person in Scotland is never more than 45 miles from the sea. Inhabitants, whilst seldom dipping their bodies in the waters, often have water on their minds. A compelling source of employment, inspiration and imagination through the centuries, their literature, music and theatre echo it. Their images depict it.


Proximity to the sea is one of several consistent Scottish geographic distinctions. This ‘Scottishness’, the particularities of that piece of the Earth’s surface that is currently called Scotland, has been at the core of ways of life and structures of feeling of all local cultures that flourished here. It will have impacted all artists who worked here.

45 artworks

.

Rough Seas, Todhead Lighthouse
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Maggie's Dundee
Rough Seas, Todhead Lighthouse 1980s–1990s
Lilian Strang Neilson (1938–1998)
Oil on board
H 20 x W 44 cm
Maggie's Dundee

.

A Stormy Day, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Photo credit: Maggie's Dundee
A Stormy Day, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
John Muirhead (1863–1927)
Oil on canvas
H 40 x W 60 cm
Maggie's Dundee

.

Sea and Snow, Catterline
© the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland
Sea and Snow, Catterline c.1958
Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)
Oil on hardboard
H 18.2 x W 33 cm
National Galleries of Scotland

.

Seascape (Foam and Blue Sky)
© the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Antonia Reeve
Seascape (Foam and Blue Sky) 1962
Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)
Oil on board
H 94 x W 167 cm
National Galleries of Scotland

.

Muckle Meg
© the artist. Photo credit: Glasgow Museums
Muckle Meg 1953–1954
Morris Grassie (b.1931)
Oil & gesso on wood
H 76.2 x W 101.6 cm
Glasgow Museums

.

A Northerly Breeze
Photo credit: The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum
A Northerly Breeze 1870
Joseph Henderson (1832–1908)
Oil on canvas
H 44.2 x W 74.5 cm
The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

.

From the Cliffs of Ailsa
Photo credit: Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire Council Collections
From the Cliffs of Ailsa
Joseph Henderson (1832–1908)
Oil on canvas
H 109 x W 177 cm
Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire Council Collections

.

Fisherrow Harbour
Photo credit: East Lothian Council
Fisherrow Harbour
H. P. Stirling
Oil on board
H 36.5 x W 47.4 cm
East Lothian Council

.

Their Only Harvest
Photo credit: Fife Council
Their Only Harvest
Colin Hunter (1841–1904)
Oil on panel
H 51 x W 71 cm
Fife Council

.

Night Sea
© the artist. Photo credit: RWA (Royal West of England Academy)
Night Sea
Janette Kerr (b.1957)
Oil on canvas
H 44 x W 40 cm
RWA (Royal West of England Academy)

.

Musselburgh
Photo credit: East Lothian Council
Musselburgh
Alexander Young (1865–1923)
Oil on canvas
H 29 x W 44 cm
East Lothian Council

.

Dusk at Fisherrow, Musselburgh
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Heriot-Watt University
Dusk at Fisherrow, Musselburgh
William Ferguson
Oil on board
H 24.2 x W 34.3 cm
Heriot-Watt University

.

Passing St Kilda
© the artist. Photo credit: Fife Council
Passing St Kilda 2003
Frances Walker (b.1930)
Oil on panel
H 108.9 x W 153 cm
Fife Council

.

Approaching St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
© the artist. Photo credit: NHS Tayside
Approaching St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
Jean Rodger (b.1934)
Oil on canvas
H 182 x W 152 cm
NHS Tayside

.

Dornoch
Photo credit: Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture
Dornoch 1877
George Reid (1841–1913)
Oil on canvas
H 78.6 x W 110.3 cm
Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture

.

Montrose, Angus
Photo credit: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums
Montrose, Angus 1888
George Reid (1841–1913)
Oil on canvas
H 83.3 x W 102.5 cm
Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

.

Kelp Gatherers
Photo credit: Burton Art Gallery and Museum
Kelp Gatherers 1881
Colin Hunter (1841–1904)
Oil on canvas
H 50 x W 90 cm
Burton Art Gallery and Museum

.

The Naturalist
Photo credit: Perth & Kinross Council
The Naturalist 1878
Colin Hunter (1841–1904)
Oil on canvas
H 50.8 x W 91.4 cm
Perth & Kinross Council

.

The Storm
Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland
The Storm 1890
William McTaggart (1835–1910)
Oil on canvas
H 122 x W 183 cm
National Galleries of Scotland

.

Shipyard Brag
© the artist. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
Shipyard Brag 1996
James S. Davis (b.1944)
Acrylic on canvas
H 99 x W 149 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

View of Craigendoran Pier
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
View of Craigendoran Pier c.1940
Arthur James Wetherall Burgess (1879–1957)
Oil on canvas
H 59 x W 84 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

The Loss
© the artist. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
The Loss 1990
Joyce W. Cairns (b.1947)
Oil on board
H 183 x W 122 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

Shore Patrol
© the artist. Photo credit: University of Strathclyde
Shore Patrol
Joyce W. Cairns (b.1947)
Oil on canvas
H 121.5 x W 182.2 cm
University of Strathclyde

.

Trawler 1
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
Trawler 1 c.1974
Sylvia Wishart (1936–2008)
Oil on canvas
H 90 x W 90 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

Woman of the North Sea
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Bridgeman Images
Woman of the North Sea
John Bellany (1942–2013)
Oil on canvas
H 76.2 x W 51 cm
Fry Art Gallery

.

The Boat Builders
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
The Boat Builders 1962
John Bellany (1942–2013)
Oil on board
H 274.3 x W 488.7 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

Fishers in the Snow
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Scottish Parliament Art Collection
Fishers in the Snow 1966
John Bellany (1942–2013)
Oil on board
H 250.7 x W 326.9 cm
Scottish Parliament Art Collection

.

The ‘Dawn Pearl’ in Port Seton Harbour
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
The ‘Dawn Pearl’ in Port Seton Harbour before 2006
John Bellany (1942–2013)
Oil on canvas
H 90 x W 90 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

Fishing Boat
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Dumfries and Galloway Council (Gracefield)
Fishing Boat 1964
John Bellany (1942–2013)
Oil on board
H 122 x W 152.6 cm
Dumfries and Galloway Council (Gracefield)

.

On the Clyde
Photo credit: Scottish Maritime Museum
On the Clyde c.1830
James Francis Williams (1785–1846)
Oil on canvas
H 40 x W 62 cm
Scottish Maritime Museum

.

Working the Long Lines
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Scottish Fisheries Museum
Working the Long Lines
James More Horsburgh (1924–2007)
Oil on panel
H 52 x W 114.5 cm
Scottish Fisheries Museum

.

Hauling the Drift Nets
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Scottish Fisheries Museum
Hauling the Drift Nets
James More Horsburgh (1924–2007)
Oil on canvas on board
H 52 x W 114.5 cm
Scottish Fisheries Museum

.

The Fisher Lass
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Scottish Fisheries Museum
The Fisher Lass c.1914
John McGhie (1867–1952)
Oil on canvas
H 100 x W 121.5 cm
Scottish Fisheries Museum

.

Boats on the Shore
© the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland
Boats on the Shore c.1963
Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)
Oil on hardboard
H 101.6 x W 115.6 cm
National Galleries of Scotland

.

On the Fife Coast
Photo credit: The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum
On the Fife Coast 1860–1878
Samuel Bough (1822–1878)
Oil on canvas
H 35 x W 45.4 cm
The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum

.

Seascape
Photo credit: Lakeland Arts Trust
Seascape
Samuel Bough (1822–1878)
Oil on panel
H 28.5 x W 52 cm
Lakeland Arts Trust

.

Off St Andrews
Photo credit: National Galleries of Scotland
Off St Andrews 1856
Samuel Bough (1822–1878)
Oil on canvas
H 36.2 x W 45.8 cm
National Galleries of Scotland

.

Ben More from Martyrs Bay, Iona
Photo credit: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow
Ben More from Martyrs Bay, Iona c.1925
Samuel John Peploe (1871–1935)
Oil on canvas
H 63.5 x W 76 cm
Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

.

Scottish Mother and Child
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Scottish Mother and Child 2005
John Bellany (1942–2013)
Oil on canvas
H 119 x W 90 cm
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

.

Skye Fisherman, in Memoriam
© the artist. Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)
Skye Fisherman, in Memoriam 1989
Will Maclean (b.1941)
Oil & mixed media on board
H 129.5 x W 119.4 cm
Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

.

Northern Totem
© the artist. Photo credit: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)
Northern Totem 1975
Will Maclean (b.1941)
Oil & mixed media on box construction
H 66 x W 50.5 cm
Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)

.

Oiled Birds, Kingskettle
© the artist. Photo credit: Maggie's Cheltenham
Oiled Birds, Kingskettle late 20th C
Will Maclean (b.1941)
Acrylic on canvas
H 19.3 x W 19.3 cm
Maggie's Cheltenham

.

Winter, Tentsmuir
© the artist. Photo credit: Fife Council
Winter, Tentsmuir
Marian Leven (b.1944)
Acrylic on board
H 20.8 x W 40.8 cm
Fife Council

.

Voyage of the Anchorites
© the artist. Photo credit: Scottish Parliament Art Collection
Voyage of the Anchorites 1996
Will Maclean (b.1941)
Yellow pine, mdf board, acrylic glue, acrylic paint, acrylic filler paste
H 188 x W 126 x D 10 cm
Scottish Parliament Art Collection

.

Summer Sea
© the Eardley estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture
Summer Sea 1962
Joan Kathleen Harding Eardley (1921–1963)
Oil & paper on board
H 122.2 x W 183 cm
Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture