Venice from the Mainland

Oil on canvas
Image size: 36 x 30 inches (92 x 76 cm)
Original frame

Thomas Gibson Fine Art 1976
Private Estate

David Montagu Douglas Scott’s strong, idiosyncratic draughtsmanship and innate sense of design led to daring compositions. As shown here in his depiction of Venice, the artist uses of colour and perspective boldly, and to great effect. This lends his paintings an originality that is at once charming and awe-inspiring.

This work is a perfect example of Scott’s favoured palette. Scott especially liked to use shades of blue in his works, which enhanced their soothing effect. His wife was once told by an artist at a Royal Academy dinner that, “As far as I remember your husband’s paintings are rather blue.” Her reply came, “And yours, I believe, are rather brown. And I’d rather blue than brown, wouldn’t you?”

Scott’s sensitivity to colour allowed him to capture the most subtle of atmospheres. However, as shown in this work, he was equally at home depicting the wilder aspects of nature. Indeed, here his observation of weather and its various influences on the venetian landscape is undeniably acute.
David Montagu Douglas Scott was born on January 29 1945 in Edinburgh. His father, whose sister was Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester, was the youngest son of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. David Scott’s mother was the portrait painter Molly Bishop, whose subjects included Diana, Princess of Wales, the Queen Mother, Aldous Huxley and Rudolph Nureyev.


David Montagu Douglas Scott created paintings in oil and watercolour which were noted for the sense of calm and serenity they conveyed. From 1963 to 1966 he studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art in north London, then went to the Royal Academy of Art. Among the galleries that exhibited Scott’s work were the Maclean Gallery, Thomas Gibson Fine Art and The Scottish Gallery. He showed at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and was listed in the Courtauld Institute.


Scott’s paintings typically featured wide expanses of sky, sea or beach. Figures often animated the middle ground, with a road sign or poster near the foreground to add a touch of realism to scenes otherwise free of specific detail. Faces were generally left blank although the figures were instantly recognisable to those who knew them, by the careful depiction of a characteristic hairstyle, accessory or stance.