Patrick Downie's Old Greenock

Old Greenock of Bygone Days - Oil on canvas - 66 x 99 cm - 1977.949 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock A View of William Street from Mid Quay, Greenock - Oil on canvas - 92 x 72.5 cm - Stuart A. Caird Bequest 1920 - 1977.782 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock A Winter Sunset, Mid Quay, Greenock 1888 - Oil on canvas - 76.5 x 64.5 cm - 1977.778 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Passing of Old Mid Quay, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 48.8 x 65.8 cm - 1930 - 1977.750 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Passing of Old West Harbour, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 46.5. x 64.3 cm - 1931 - 1977.751 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock A Wet Night, May 1883 - Watercolour on paper - 22 x 27.5 cm -  1977.754 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council.

This painting shows a view of George Square and Union Street, Greenock shortly after the construction of the McLean Museum. East Quay Lane, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 38.4 x 30  cm - 1882 - 1977.755 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. The Old Prison, Bank Street, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 29.5 x 44.5 cm - 1886 -  1977.756 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The White Hart Hotel, Cathcart Square, Greenock - 1886 - Watercolour on paper - 24.8 x 18.4 cm  - 1886 - 1977.757 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. The Old Mansion House, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 21.3 x 17.3 cm - 1885 - 1977.758 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. The Old West Kirk, Greenock - Oil on board - 35.3 x 25.2 cm - 1977.763 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Longwell Close, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 27.1 x 18.6 cm - 1977.768 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council.

Longwell Close disappeared as part of the programme carried out by the Improvement Trust in the later nineteenth century and was replaced by Duff Street. The Old Mansion House, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 13.5 x 24.5 cm - 1886 - 1977.769 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. The Clydesdale Bank, Hamilton Street, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 21.2 x 14.8 cm - 1977.767 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. Sunshine (from the tryptich 'Sunshine, Rain and Snow, Greenock') - Watercolour on paper - 78.5 x 38.5 cm - 1881 - 1977.760.1 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. Snow (from the tryptich 'Sunshine, Snow and Rain, Greenock') - Watercolour on paper - 78.5 x 38.5 cm - 1881 - 1977.760.2 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. Rain (from the tryptich 'Sunshine, Snow and Rain, Greenock') - Watercolour on paper - 78.5 x 38.5 cm - 1977.601.3 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council.

This painting shows a scene in Low Vennel, Greenock. Trinity Church, Union Street, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 17.5 x 26.5 cm - 1885 - 1977.753 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. West Kirk Steeple, Nelson Street, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 21.6 x 15.5 cm - 1881 - 1977.766  ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. This work was conserved with the generous assistance of the Scottish Museums Council. Winter Morning, Dalrymple Street, Greenock - Watercolour on paper - 22 x 32 cm - 1885 - 1977.775 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock 'Cartsburn Mansion House, Greenock' - lithograph print after a painting by Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published in 1891. - 2012.38 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'The House with Five Gables, William Street, Greenock' - lithograph print after a painting by Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published in 1891. - 2012.39 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'West Harbour from West Side or Custom House Quay, Greenock' by Patrick Downie (1854-1945) - Watercolour on paper - 18.8 x 15.2 cm  - dated 1881 - 1977.765 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'Old Slaughterhouse Lane, Greenock' - lithograph print after Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published in 1891. - 2012.47 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'New West Church, Nelson Street' - lithograph print after Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published c 1888 - 2012.48.40 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'Highlanders' Academy, Greenock' - lithograph after Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published circa 1888 - 2012.33 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'Lindsay's Lane, Greenock' -  lithograph print after Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published in 1891 - 2012.43 -  ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. 'Toll Bar and Cappielow Inn, Port Glasgow Road, Greenock' - lithograph print after Patrick Downie (1854-1945) published in 1891 - 2012.40 - ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock.

Patrick Downie was born in Greenock in 1854 and spent his early life there. Downie’s background was an impoverished one and economic necessity meant that had to initially work in a variety of jobs. The family is first recorded as living at Hunter's Land, 30 Sugarhouse Lane, Greenock in the 1861 census and by 1881 he is recorded as living at 16 Holmscroft Street, Greenock with his mother, his profession listed as a 'Grocer's Asst. & Artillery Letter Carrier.' He later lived at 37 Roxburgh Street, Greenock before moving to Paisley

Downie's youth in Greenock was important in providing him with a rich source of images throughout his life. The streets of Greenock and the attendant activity of the waterfront were favourite subjects and he painted them in oils and watercolours. His works were also published as book illustrations and as lithograph prints. Downie once claimed "I could almost rebuild Old Greenock from my sketch-book".

In 1885 he married first Margaret Cochran, daughter of a draper, Robert Cochran, who had been Provost of Paisley. Downie's first wife died in 1888 and Downie then married Margaret's sister Helen, who was also an artist, specialising in flower paintings. 

Although he spent a brief period studying in Paris, he remained largely self-taught. He started to show his work around 1885 and was showing his paintings in the major London galleries from the late 1880s.

Although best remembered for his west coast and Greenock scenes he painted in several locations on the east coast of Scotland including St. Andrews and Dunbar. Patrick Downie continued to paint into old age and was still painting pictures of Greenock harbours in his eighties. His work, especially his street scenes of Greenock, continues to appeal to a wide audience and he remains the most popular of the various artists born in Greenock in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

To get a print or license the use of any of these images please contact the Art UK shop and licensing link on the left of this page. If you have any other questions concerning this collection please contact the Museum at museum@inverclyde.gov.uk.

You can see more works including drawings and paintings by Patrick Downie by looking at our Collections Online website. Click on the link on the left.

Page last updated: 6 December 2018