March 1879: Mr David Murray’s Latest Picture

An article on page four of The Glasgow Herald, on Tuesday the 11th of March, 1879, reads:




This artist has completed the most important picture he has yet painted, if judged by the

exacting purpose of the artist and the success which has attended his work. The subject

is a funeral, a poor man’s, crossing the ebbed sands of the western shore of Uist. The time

is sunset, with the purple clouds floating along the dreary horizon, and darkening to their

own hue the desolate beach. The group of mourners fade away into the gloom falling sadly

over the very verge of the land. An ebbing lane of the tide bends across the foreground,

resplendent with the glitter of the sunset, and somehow like old Charon’s waters, dividing

the night from the day. On the one side are the lingering glories of the past, on the other

the cheerless waste of the darkened sands and the sea. The picture is not to be described –

the meaning of it is best given by the two reverent figures waiting till the dead has passed.

With bent heads and folded hands these miserable bait-gatherers cast bitter scorn over

black plumes, mutes, and the theatrical marshalling of a respectable funeral. Nothing Mr

Murray has painted awakens any part of the emotions this picture incites, with its old

world, weary, and woe-begone look. Mr Murray has also been busy with a large picture

from the same land as his ‘Funeral in the Outer Isles.’ In this picture a dull stretch of sands,

with the storm-wrack clearing overhead, is toned to the leaden sadness of these shores.

Some beached boats, with a cart and horse, lend an incident and some variety of colour.”