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In The Artists' Footsteps

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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 Junior

James Faed (Senior)

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

John Maxwell

John Maxwell one of the most significant Scottish artists of the twentieth century was born in Dalbeattie  on 12th July 1905.  Although he studied in Edinburgh and France and taught for many years at Edinburgh College of Art,  his inspiration came from his native surroundings, the town of Dalbeattie, the soft Galloway  countryside and the nearby coast.  As one biographer has written “Dalbeattie and Galloway generally were to remain  for Maxwell what Cookham was for Stanley Spencer, a fount to which throughout his life he constantly returned for refreshment, either physically or in recollection.”


John was the eldest son of Thomas and Mary Margaret Maxwell.  Thomas worked with his father as a butcher in Dalbeattie but later took over a hotel and grocery shop and eventually the town cinema.  While Douglas and George, John’s younger brothers, worked for the family business, on leaving school John proceeded from Dumfries Academy to Edinburgh College of Art  in 1921.  In 1927 he was awarded a travelling scholarship to study under Leger and Ozenfant in Paris and also visited Spain and Italy.


John Maxwell was appointed to the staff of Edinburgh College of Art in 1929.  With the death of his parents in 1943 he was able to give up full time teaching and return to Dalbeattie, benefiting from his share of the family cinema.  In 1945 he retired to Galloway to paint full time.  In the same year he was elected associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and Academician in 1949.  In 1955 at the invitation of his friend W G Gillies he returned to the College before retiring finally to his home Millbrooke in Dalbeattie, where he died on 3 June 1962.


John Maxwell’s memorial exhibition listed little more than 200 known works.  While his friend with whom he often painted in Galloway and elsewhere, William Gillies would complete six works before lunch, Maxwell would still be considering how to treat his subject.  He was also renowned for destroying his own work.  It is therefore his best which has survived.  Whether it was the view from Millbrooke, which we see in his Landscape with Church and Trees, or a trellis in his garden, which inspired his important series of that name, it was his native surroundings which gave him his inspiration.  When the Tate Gallery bought one of his last works Night Flowers,  he wrote to the gallery to say that the work was inspired by an exceptionally fine bush of Rosa Moyesii, which he could see through his window, combined with moths at his window at dusk.  As his friend Archie Sutter Watt wrote in the introduction to the 1982 exhibition Memories of Maxwell  “Johnnie lived in Dalbeattie in a very beautiful house, full of books , music and paintings and set in no ordinary garden and one soon realised that the lyrical, poetic art of this man came from these quiet sources.”



Landscape with Animals

Landscape with Animals

Landscape with Church and Trees

Landscape with Church and Trees

Rocks on the Solway

Rocks on the Solway

Winter Landscape with Church, Dalbeattie

Winter Landscape with Church, Dalbeattie