Peat Bog, 1953

Louise Gibson Annand (1915–2012)​
The Argyll Collection © the copyright owner*. 

Louise Gibson Annand was a Scottish artist, filmmaker and educator. Annand was artistically talented from a young age, but her father encouraged her to attend university as opposed to art school. She therefore studied English at the University of Glasgow before becoming a teacher, although she continued to pursue art, with her artistic style constantly developing. Around the time this painting was completed, Annand also began making films. Her films were mostly documentarian, with her subjects of choice including Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the history of Glasgow tram cars, and sporran making. It is clear that Annand was a passionate educator, and perhaps her observational and studious tendencies can be seen as being echoed in her depiction of a peat bog, although her artwork is a more abstracted expression. Rather than documenting the exact appearance of the scene in front of her, Annand produces an emotional response to the landscape and captures the fleeting beauty of nature in her quick and loose brushstrokes. The white specks suggest the presence of cotton grass flourishing. Annand was also a keen climber, as she was a member of the Scottish Ladies Climbing Club and had bagged almost every Munro. Although the location of this peat bog is not specified, Annand would have been familiar with this type of landscape, as there are several peat bogs in and around Glasgow. Perhaps Annand came across this bog on one of her frequent walks that she enjoyed so much. 

Peatlands frequently contain archaeological artefacts that have been discovered over the years by peat cutters and others. Several nice examples may be found in the British Museum. These artefacts were likely to have been deposited within the peatlands as part of ritual deposits although other items are of a domestic nature, perhaps lost whilst crossing the bog or working in the landscape.

Holly Mullins and Andy Mills

* All reasonable effort has been made to trace the copyright owner of this work, but without success; we will be delighted to receive any information that may help us trace them.