Patrick Nasmyth lived from 7 January 1787 to 17 August 1831. He was a celebrated landscape painter. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Patrick Nasmyth was born in Edinburgh. He was the son of the landscape and portrait painter Alexander Nasmyth. He grew up in a talented family. His four sisters, Anne, Barbara, Charlotte, and Jane, all also became painters, while his younger brother James Nasmyth became famous as the engineer and inventor responsible for the successful development of the steam hammer before, in retirement, also turning to art. Patrick suffered an accident as a teenager that resulted in the loss of the use of his right hand, so he had to learn to paint left-handed. He also suffered from an illness that left him very hard of hearing.
Patrick became a highly acclaimed landscape painter. His subjects were often inspired by the Scottish countryside, and this remained the case after he moved to London in 1810: though he also painted many English views. Stylistically, Patrick (like his father before him) was strongly influenced by the Dutch masters of the 1600s, and he spent considerable amounts of time studying the works of painters like Meindert Hobbema and Jacob van Ruysdael in the London art galleries after he moved south. His work is noted for its gentle use of tone and colour, and the considerable detail employed. He was also especially noted for his skies.
Nasmyth would often paint landscapes from life. In 1831 he developed a cold following an "on location" painting session near London. This developed into pneumonia, and he died shortly afterwards.