Machrihanish, Bay Voyach signed, oil on canvas, 147 x 218cm (58 x 86ins)
Provenance : Commissioned/acquired directly from the artist by a Greenock family, and by descent. Literature : Caw, Sir J, 'William McTaggart', Glasgow, 1917, pp272 : possibly the picture referred to as 'Machrihanish - the Bay from Bay Voyach' (1898). McTaggart produced a number of canvases on this vast scale in the mid-1890's, often worked out 'en plein air' in a single day. Caw (pp180) recalls : "grandeur and vastness...McTaggart believed that to suggest these qualities pictorially size was, if not absolutely necessary, at least highly desirable" Caw also records of a similar picture (pp179-180) : "The seven foot 'Machrihanish Bay', painted there in 1898, is one of the finest things he ever did...Painted during the same summer, the equally large but rather less complete 'Machrihanish from Bay Voyach' is equally vivid in clarity of lighting, atmospheric quality of high pitched colour and liveliness of movement." Note : Errington, L, 'William McTaggart', National Galleries of Scotland, 1989, pp97-98, records the artist's dealer McOmish Dott's apposite introduction to his 1901 exhibition as follows : "He drew up a list of 'five technical points' which McTaggart has specially insisted on... The raising of scale of illumination...rendering of movement of light and colour, its 'vibration'...'given the impression of Nature, not as seen from the safe shelter of a window (as is usually done), but as seen in the open air, allowing for the effect of dazzling light, wind, rain...A McTaggart envelops the spectator on all sides and, in a sense, lacks edges...'liberation or enlargement of the focus of interest'...tendency to enlarge his pictures by letting out, or addition of extra pieces of canvas...'He does not...compel us...to ultimately dwell on some one point of greatest interest in his picture..."