Alexander Reid of Kirkennan, Grasmere Lake District -c.1797 watercolour painting


An original c.1797 watercolour painting, Alexander Reid of Kirkennan Grasmere, Lake District.

An extremely rare watercolour by Alexander Reid of Kirkennan (1747-1823), artist of the famous Robert Burns miniature portrait in the National Galleries of Scotland, which the poet described as 'the best likeness' of him ever to be made.

This painting shows an 18th-century view at Grasmere in the English Lake District. Charmingly, the view is populated by an angler in the foreground and figures on a small rowing boat on the lake. Alexander Reid was well acquainted with Robert Burns (1759-1796). Interestingly, Reid’s decision here to paint the English lakes coincided with Wordsworth’s growing affection for the place.

With separate accompanying backing card giving the attribution in the hand of Reid's great-nephew, George Corson: 'Grasmere. Alexr Reid about 1797'.

Age toning, marks and foxing as shown. There are two pinholes to the paper, lower centre and to the lower edge, and a patch of imperfection to the paper lower centre. There is a small repaired tear towards the left edge.
17.1cm x 26cm.

This is one of a collection of four watercolours by Reid that we have for sale.

Alexander Reid of Kirkennan (1747-1823) was proprietor of the large Kirkennan estate near Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbright. A certain amount is known about his life: he received his artistic training in London and in Paris; executed numerous portraits, pictures, and drawings of persons, places, and scenes in Dumfries and Galloway; had a studio in the town of Dumfries, in which, in 1796, he painted a now-famous miniature portrait of Burns; he succeeded to Kirkennan on the death of his brother William, in 1804, and died unmarried, in 1823, aged 76.

The value of his work, however, is in its importance to vernacular literature and national history and antiquities. As a Stewarty Laird he was connected with all the most interesting people in one of the most interesting districts in Scotland, during a momentous period of Scottish history. He was friends with Burns, Francis Grose, Robert Glenriddell, during the rise of Romanticism in the arts and a period which did so much to shape our view of Scotland’s history today. Reid’s works, mainly topographical in nature, provide rare illustration of the persons, places and scenes of this area at this time.

Furthermore, his known work is extremely rare; of six engravings from his paintings known to collectors, the original of only one of them, ‘Kipp Cairns’, has been traced to its present owner.

Our four paintings were until now hidden from public view in a collection of works belonging to Reid’s great nephew, George Corson.

Text copyright © 2019 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JM-531

Share this Product