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In The Artists' Footsteps

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Donald Watson 1918 - 2005

Harbour Cottage Gallery Kirkcudbright - 60th Anniversary

Archie Sutter Watt

Nan S Fergusson (Mrs James Henderson) 1910 - 1984

E A Taylor

Edward Arthur Walton

Christian Jane (Chris) Fergusson

James Paterson

E. A. Hornel

Jankel Adler

Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell

William Hanna Clarke

William Daniell

George Wright

James Faed (Senior)

James Faed Junior

John Faed

Susan Bell Faed

The Faeds

David Gauld

The Glasgow Girls

Tom Gourdie

The Glasgow Boys

Francis Grose

George Henry

Anna and Isobel Hotchkis

James G (Tim) Jeffs

Jessie M King

Oskar Kokoschka

William Miles Johnston

John Maxwell

Henry Joseph Moule

William Mouncey

William Stewart MacGeorge

Charles Oppenheimer

Samuel John Peploe

William Bruce Ellis Ranken

William Robson

Charles William Stewart

Jim Sturgeon

Alick Riddell Sturrock

JMW Turner

Jemima Wedderburn

Christopher Whall

The Dumfries and Galloway Fine Art Society

William Bruce Ellis Ranken

William Ranken was born at 8 Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh in 1881, the third son of Robert Burt Ranken, a prosperous Writer to the Signet, and his wife Mary Witherington Ranken (née Dunlop).  His early childhood was spent at Philiphaugh House, Selkirk and later at Penicuik House.  He was educated at Eton and at the Slade School of Art in London.


Around 1899 his Family took up residence at Dalswinton House, just north of Dumfries, which they occupied for the next twenty years.  The House, its estate and the surrounding areas became a source of inspiration to Ranken.  He first exhibited in 1901 at the New English Art Club and in 1904 he had his first one-man exhibition at the then prestigious Carfax Gallery in London which received enthusiastic reviews, with particular reference being made to his ‘In the Park, Dalswinton’ (whereabouts unknown) which was illustrated in colour in ‘The Studio’ magazine (see photo).  He subsequently exhibited widely at all the major artistic Societies and Galleries in Great Britain and in the period to 1919 many of his works, both in oil and watercolour, included subjects associated with Dumfriesshire and in particular Dalswinton, such as ‘The Policeman’s Garden, Dalswinton’, ‘The Saw Mill, Dalswinton’, ‘Stormy Evening, Dalswinton’, ‘Dalswinton Village’, ‘On Sandbed Farm, Dalswinton’, ‘Dalswinton Loch, Autumn afternoon’, ‘A Little Garden at Auldgirth’, ‘Azalea Mollis in the drawing room at Dalswinton’, ‘Mrs Kelsey in the garden at Dalswinton’, ‘Mrs Kelsey on the roof at Dalswinton’, ‘On the lawn, Dalswinton’, ‘Wild Hyacinths, Dalswinton’, ‘Oak trees on the road to Dumfries’, ‘Valley of the Nith’, ‘The Old Bridge, Dumfries’, ‘Old Houses on the Nith, Maxwelltown’, ‘Beech Trees at harvest, near Kirkton’, ‘September flowers from a Dumfriesshire garden’ and so forth.


His magnificent oil painting ‘Water Lilies at Dalswinton’ (private collection, USA), exhibited at The Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1910 and subsequently at The Royal Scottish Academy in 1911, is one of his finest works (see photo), widely acclaimed  at the time, with the critic of ‘The Observer’ noting it to be ‘as decorative as Monet’s famous ‘Nymphées’.  Although many paintings by Ranken are held in public collections, the only one associated with his Dalswinton period is his ‘Mrs Kelsey in pink in the drawing room at Dalswinton’ (see photo) which is to be found at the City of York Art Gallery, but unfortunately not on display.

Ranken subsequently established his studio at 14 Cheltenham Terrace in Chelsea and acquired the impressive Warbrook House at Eversley, Hampshire.  He travelled widely, was particularly successful in the USA and continued to exhibit extensively until his untimely death in London in 1941.  A retrospective exhibition was held at the Ferargil Galleries in New York the following year.  A website dedicated to his life and work is to be found at

(written by Gordon & Wendy Hawksley)

In the Park, Dalswinton

In the Park, Dalswinton

Water Lilies at Dalswinton

Water Lilies at Dalswinton

Mrs Kelsey in pink in the drawing room at Dalswinton

Mrs Kelsey in pink in the drawing room at Dalswinton