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James PATERSON 1854 - 1932

RSW 1885, NEAC 1887, ARSA 1896, ARWS 1898, RWS 1908, RSA 1910, PRSW 1922-1932

Biography

Born in Glasgow the son of a successful manufacturer, James Paterson worked in business for four years while attending watercolour classes. In 1877 his father agreed to his going to Paris to study where he stayed until 1882, spending the summer working on the Continent or returning to work in Scotland. Paterson’s French training was very important and the tonal quality of his work reflects this time in Paris. Paterson had enjoyed painting in Dumfriesshire and in 1884 he moved to the village of Moniaive to settle with his new wife into the house ‘Kilniess’ which was given to the couple as a wedding present by his parents.

Paterson painted the landscape around Moniaive in oil and watercolour, working in the open air. In order to be able to paint snow scene, he built a special studio near by a Craigdarroch. In 1888 he was instrumental in establishing the Scottish Art Review, which became a mouthpiece of the Glasgow School, and he was also an early member of the New English Art Club. In the later 1880s Paterson began spending more time in Edinburgh, finally relocating there in 1905 and the city features regularly in his work with views from Arthur’s Seat or Craigleith Quarry.

In 1910 his wife died and Paterson began to travel more abroad, working regularly in Tenerife and well as Italy, Corsica and France. His colours, which had been restrained in Scotland, began to brighten and during his later years he produced many vivid and brilliant watercolours of southern landscapes. Unlike many of the Glasgow Boys, Paterson’s later work does not decline in quality remaining fresh and vibrant. He died in Edinburgh aged 78.