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James Alfred Aitken

Niagara Falls


James Alfred Aitken
Edinburgh 1846 – Glasgow 1897


Niagara Falls


After 1887


Oil on canvas


182.9 x 119.8 cm


Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927(1974).37


Quebec and Canadian Art

Scottish landscape painter James Alfred Aitken studied in Glasgow under the academician and landscape painter Horatio McCulloch, an artist known for his scenes of the Scottish Highland painted in a Romantic style. After a period in Dublin, Aitken returned to Scotland, settling in Glasgow in 1872. This painting is a pastiche, in reduced scale, of Frederic Edwin Church’s monumental painting Niagara Falls, from the American Side of 1867 (Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh). Church was the outstanding American artist of the age, with an international reputation as a landscape painter, and his work was acclaimed in London. His Niagara was purchased in 1887 by John S. Kennedy, who gifted it to his homeland of Scotland.

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