painting; oil; "View of Falkirk High Station"

Maker
David Octavius Hill
Production date
Circa 1851
Description
View of Falkirk High Station by David Octavius Hill. This is an oil painting on board. On the back is a paper label of Alexander Hill, the signature in pencil of D O Hill and the title "Falkirk Tryste", also in pencil. The view is painted from the high ground immediately to the south of the railway station looking north-east towards the town of Falkirk.
In the foreground is the main Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line crossed by a wooden footbridge. At the right hand edge is a large stone retaining wall that supports the edge of Muirhouse Farm, part of the Callendar Estate on the road to Slamannan. The railway enters a deep cutting at this point on its way into the Falkirk tunnel.
The station buildings include a fine stone structure with a bay window overlooking the railway. Elongated open-fronted sheds with iron columns extend off to its right. To the left of the main station building is a metalled space for the carriages to draw up and turn around to return down Station Road. The latter is depicted by the tree line behind the station buildings and a series of white spots indicating the recently constructed houses. To the left of the metalled area is a large open yard, with a fence separating the two. The yard is traversed by diagonal lines, suggesting the position of goods lines. A sketchy crane can be seen within the front left of the yard. Inside the yard are livestock - either horses or cattle. At the back end of the yard is a large goods shed with three loading bays. The bay on the right has it doors closed. The left end of the building appears to contain offices.
In the middle distance is the town of Falkirk. The only clearly discernible features are the Steeple (right) and the Parish Church (left). Beyond are the Carse of Falkirk and the Forth Estuary. In the far distance the shape of the Ochils can be made out.
DATE
The form of the station building can clearly be seen on the 1st edition OS map of the area dating to 1860. By the time of the 2nd edition in 1898 they had changed significantly. However, the 1st edition does not show the goods shed that is such a prominent feature of the painting. By 1898 this had been built and may be seen on the photograph taken in 1920 (p14076). This photograph is taken just to the west of the view given in the painting. The crane position is also shown on the 2nd edition map. We must therefore conclude that the painting was executed in the 1860s.
This date concurs with the date provided by the Malcolm Innes Gallery based upon the style of painting. The meagre representation of detail and the use of white wisps characterise Hill's later work. On the back of the board is a label by the supplier, Alexander Hill, the artist's brother. His address is given as 67 Princes' Street, Edinburgh, where he moved in 1841. Alexander died in 1866, though of course the boards with these labels could have been sold for some time afterwards.
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Object detail

Department
Production date
Circa 1851
Signature & date
writing:back:"D.O.Hill"
writing:back: "Falkirk Tryste"
Measurement type, part and reading
Dimensions:0 - Whole:L 45.6cm (L 1' 5 15/16")
Dimensions:0 - Whole:H 30cm (H 11 13/16")
Documentation
Falkirk Herald; Falkirk Herald; Falkirk Herald Office High St Falkirk; Newspaper; estab. 1845
Accession number
2001-021-001

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