Thursday, September 16, 2010
John William Inchbold -The Cuillin Ridge, Skye
oil on canvas
51 x 69cm
This undated landscape has been identified as The Burn, November - The Cucullen Hills which Inchbold exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856. As in A Study in March, the real subject, the burn of the title, is concentrated in the foreground. Also, as in the earlier picture, the landscape depicts the light and weather of a particular month, in this case, the chill, sharp light of a November day in North-West Scotland when the sun hardly rises above the horizon. Ruskin, who praised the 'exquisite painting of withered heather and rock' in The Cumin Ridge, commissioned four drawings from the artist and spent two weeks with him in Switzerland in 1858. 'It was' recalled Ruskin, 'a delicate and difficult matter to make him gradually find out his own faults ... and took me a fortnight of innuendoes. At last I think I succeeded in making him entirely uncomfortable and ashamed of himself and then left him.' It is not obvious that Inchbold was improved by this advice. It is more probable that the 'fortnight of innuendoes' and Ruskin's subsequent in
difference to his work profoundly discouraged Inchbold, who had an awkward and retiring character and who never fulfilled the promise of his early paintings.