Gauld's work from the late 1880s and 1890s are strongly influenced by Symbolism and Medieval mysticism. His interest and style resembles that of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their return to the intense colours and complex compositions of the Italian Quattrocento.
In the 1890s he visited France and in particular Grez. Under the influence of his French contemporaries, he painted landscapes and experimented on shadows, foliage and drapery. Just as George Henry (1858-1943) and Edward Atkinson Hornel (1864-1933) used an intensely coloured palette so too did Gauld. And like Henry and Hornel he also was interested in the decorative aspects of painting and mythological subject matters.