This 'highland' landscape is actually Wales, the setting for many of the artist's compositions at this period following his visit to North Wales in the late 1840s. Cooper recorded that, at this period, he '...preferred that part of the British Isles to Scotland for two reasons, or, I may say, three. First, because Landseer was that year painting in Scotland; secondly, because the bare or stony hills or mountains of North Wales suited me for what I was at that moment particularly wanting, better than the heather-covered Scotch hills, with their warm colouring; and thirdly, because the Welsh scenery was less well known, out of the beaten tracks, where many beautiful bits may be found for sketching.' He tells of how he and his son, Alfred Vickers, they set out in search of wild goats: 'They were very restless, but I managed to get good studies of them, first in outline for their form, and then in colour'. The setting of the present picture bears similarities to A goatherd on Moel Siabod, North Wales, Cooper's major work of 1848, which resulted from the same sketching trip.
We are grateful to Kenneth Westwood for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.