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Old Brig o' Dee

Old Brig o' Dee
25 x 36 cm

I have a wonderful book of Diploma Paintings by members of the Royal Watercolour Society - The Glory of Watercolour by Michael Spender. One of the paintings in the book is "The Old Brig o' Dee" by Samuel John Birch, so when I was in Deeside I was keen to see the bridge for myself and make some sketches of it. The trees have grown a lot in a hundred years, so the view is less open now. Birch may also have used a bit of artists' licence to show more of the bridge. That's certainly what I did for this painting; when I sketched it I couldn't see the left-hand arch. I have made a pencil sketch of Birch's painting for comparison.

 Sketch of the painting of
"Old Brig o' Dee"
by Samuel John 'Lamorna' Birch


  1. Hi there Keith!... Good job job on the Brig o'Dee!

    The bridge has one more arch than the Humber Bridge I was at here in Canada... but the problems were exactly the same... as is the Scottish stone construction of the bridges themselves! Masterful when you think of it!

    One hundred years covers a lot of change and one really gets to realizing that when one revisits the original site.

    A lovely... crisp rendering of the subject Keith!

    Good Paimting!
    Warmest regards,

  2. Hi Bruce,

    I've also have a book of sketches that Turner made on a tour of the North of England. It's interesting to see how things have changed. One sketch comes to mind, where a couple of saplings are now big trees. I also find it fascinating to follow in other artists' footsteps, encountering the same problems they did, and comparing my efforts.

    All the best,

  3. Funny i have just borrowed a book of Monet during his trip through Holland, Zaandam to be exact. It looks like a hype to visit old masters places ;-)

    Good one Keith!

    How's autumn over there?

  4. Thanks René. We're having some sunshine here, but plenty of those grey days as well.

  5. Hi Keith, I have to say this is best Old Brig o Dee painting that I have seen and I have to admit I know that bridge like an old friend. Was it Rowland Hilder or Wesson that did a version but it was quite drab in comparison. I will be going over this bridge on Saturday when returning to deeside tomorrow for an overnight stay. Beautiful work.

  6. i was wondering how you found all these great locations...lovely clean painting keith

  7. Thanks Caroline. I expect it was Edward Wesson who painted the bridge; he seems to have travelled to practically everywhere when he was doing his posters for the Post Office.

    I hope you have a good trip.

  8. Yes that's one way to find subjects Rob.

  9. Keith, what a nice idea to trace the footsteps of an artist before us. Your work here is so light and fresh, you make it look so easy!

  10. Thanks Frank. It's quite moving to paint from the same spot as one of the masters.

    Do you know about the online resource of Turner sketchbooks at Tate Britain. There are a lot to look through but it's interesting to see how he worked.


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