A Hind’s Daughter, James Guthrie,1883
Quebec has tried twice and failed to secede from Canada. The referendum of 1995 was considered a foregone conclusion by pollsters; commentators breathlessly discussed whether the Maritime Provinces—separated from the rest of Canada—would ask to join the United States. However, the polls were wrong and although the Parti Québécois remains a political force, the idea of Quebec separatism is spent.
Yesterday Scotland also ignored the polls and voted to stay in the United Kingdom. Hopefully, the Scottish separatist movement will go the way of the Parti Québécois. In honor of that, let me give you a tiny bit of Scottish painting.
The head of the Holy Loch, George Henry
The Glasgow Boys are called the Scottish Impressionists, but they’re more similar to the Australian Heidelberg School painters in their sentimental attachment to their history. Their painting was done en plein air with free brush work and an emphasis on the play of light. But they were not interested in modern life—as were the French Impressionists—but in the romance of Scotland’s rural past.
Considering the blanket of pollution over 19th century Glasgow, the workers packed into its tenements, and the befouling of the River Clyde, that made sense. What rich industrialist wanted a painting of the environmental and social mess his new-found wealth had helped create?
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