Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, not only accommodates the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery of Scotland, but also marks the divide between the old and new town in the city. This area was well known to Fergusson who himself was born and raised in Edinburgh.
The depiction of a recognisable landmark in such a distinctive and Impressionist style pays homage to the French Impressionists, whose work Fergusson would have seen on one of his early visits to Paris at the turn of the 20th Century.
Depictions of one's own city and the pleasure gardens within it, was one of the key subjects depicted by the Impressionists. They presented daily life and movement through paintbrush and colour and this was particularly adopted by Fergusson as exemplified in this painting. Short brushstrokes of green articulate the leaves on the trees, the soft pinks and black dashes describe the bodies milling around the park. Fergusson looks down into the city, reminiscent of Monet, making the viewer an on-looker rather than a participant within the scene.
Fergusson painted his home city and Princes Street several times in his career. (see R. Billcliffe, The Scottish Colourists: Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter and Peploe; London, 1989, pls. 4, 5, 6.).