R.S.A. Born, 1800; died, 29th August 1847.
This was one of those artists who joined the
Scottish Academy in 1830. He was a native of Dundee, and received the
rudiments of his art education under Andrew Wilson, at the Trustees'
Academy. He began his art career by painting local landscape subjects
and sea-pieces, in which he evinced great talent, but soon took to the
more lucrative branch of portrait-painting. In 1830 he exhibited at the
Royal Academy in London a Shooting-Party, consisting of a group of
portraits. His success in this line enabled him to visit Italy five
years afterwards, where he spent three years. As a result he exhibited
at the Royal Academy a Camaldolese Monk showing the Relics of his
Convent; and Cimabue and Giotto, which was purchased by Sir Robert Peel
for 150 guineas. He remained in London till his death at Chelsea,
exhibiting numerous historical and genre subjects at the Academy and the
British Institution. Among his more important works are, Columbus at the
Door of the Convent of La Rabida, the Temptation of St Anthony, Baronial
Retainers, and Salvator Rosa's first Cartoon on the wall of the Certosa.
The Scottish National Gallery contains seven of his works, among which
his landscapes show perhaps more promise in that department of art than
he afterwards fulfilled as a painter of history. His pictures, although
highly finished, well drawn, and good in colour, are at times deficient
in strength. Wilkie held his earlier works in high esteem, and probably,
had he been spared to enjoy a longer life, might have fulfilled the
anticipations of that artist.
brothers also practised art with considerable success. David, who died
on the 29th March 1874, held a good position as a Scottish
landscape-painter; and George, a portrait-painter, who died in 1862.
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