It was with his aunt that Lowry first visited Scotland, as a young boy on holiday: 'It was not often that Mary was able to persuade Elizabeth to allow Laurie [Laurence Stephen Lowry] to visit on his own; but in 1898, while her sister was in the throes of an "attack", she took the ten-year-old boy with her own family on holiday to Scotland. There they hiked across rough moorland, visited local tourist spots, and explored the countryside on bicycles which they hired by the day in the nearby village of Scaur O'Doon' (S. Rohde, L.S. Lowry, a biography, Salford, 1979, p. 48). Following this initial introduction to the country, the artist made a number of visits to Scotland throughout his career, holidaying there and travelling as far north as the Highlands.
A River Scene, on the Clyde, dates from that latter part of Lowry's career, painted when the artist was in his late seventies. As the trawler sedately traverses the Clyde, hikers and day trippers populate the near river bank. In contrast to his earlier depictions of the busy and industrious docks of Glasgow, the present work is one of relative tranquillity and leisure. There is a sense of peacefulness that is reminiscent of other paintings of the sea that Lowry undertook, particularly at Lytham St Anne’s. A nostalgia for a landscape first encountered in his youth, this work feels like Lowry reminiscing. Far from his assertions of painting only poverty, gloom and 'The Battle of Life' (quoted in J. Spalding, exhibition catalogue, Lowry, Middlesborough, Cleveland Art Gallery, 1987, p. 61) the present work contains a ruminating warmth. The underlying physical separation between artist and subject remains, however there is a real sense that Lowry has emotionally connected with the landscape depicted and the fond memories that it elicits.