The Nativity, 1872. Oil on canvas, 29½ x 45 inches (74 x 114 cm). Collection of National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, accession no. NG2396. Click on image to enlarge it.

Scott has followed a tradition established in the Renaissance of placing the setting for his Nativity in his home country rather than the Holy Land. This Nativity scene occurs in a picturesque dilapidated barn near Penkill Castle in Scotland and this work was for many years in Alice Boyd’s personal collection. The painting is primarily an Adoration of the Shepherds with the shepherds seen approaching from the right to pay their respects to the Christ child. In the distance to the right can be seen the procession of the Magi with the Three Kings mounted on white steeds. Angels playing musical instruments observe the scene from the rafters. The interior of the barn is rendered faithfully with true Pre-Raphaelite detail in its treatment of rocks, flowers, and foliage.

Two details: Left: A woman with her own infant and shepherd gaze at Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Mary’s costume seem to be that of a nun. Right: Angels in the loft. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Last modified 7 February 2022