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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 Robson

On the 31st May 1863 Eliza Richardson housekeeper to a well-to-do Edinburgh lawyer, George Sinclair had a son William.  When Sinclair died he left an estate, Dalreoch, in Ayrshire to William and his sister Clair.  It was a condition of the bequest that William change his name to Robson.  The income from the estate allowed Bill Robson to devote his life to art.


Robson studied in Paris before moving to Italy, where he settled on the island of Capri marrying Carmella Spadaro, the daughter of a local fisherman.  In 1896 the Robsons returned to Scotland with their growing family and settled in Edinburgh.  Here Bill was chairman of the Society of Scottish Artists in 1902.  His growing circle of acquaintances brought him into contact with the Kircudbright artists.  He first came to the town on holiday and was attracted both by the opportunities to paint and the chance to fish and shoot, and soon decided to settle locally.  From 1904 to 1907 he, Carmella and their seven children lived in Mouncey's former house, Woodlea in Kirkcudbright, before moving to Arden, Twynholm.  Finally in 1920 the Robsons moved to 52 High Street, Kirkcudbright, the former King's Arms Inn, which became the social centre of the artists' colony.


Bill Robson exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and from time to time at the Royal Academy in London.  While he often worked in pastel, paintings such as a Sunlit Garden, Twynholm are representative of his time in the village; other large works in oil such as his paintings of Lairdmannoch capture not only the Galloway countryside in August but one of the places he loved to fish and shoot.


Bill Robson played a full part in the life of Kirkcudbright.  For over twenty years he was president of the local St Cuthberts Football Club and was also for many years a member of the local life boat crew.  Bill and Carmella died within three days of each other in 1950.  On hearing of their deaths from Charles Oppenheimer their old friend Dorothy L Sayers concluded her letter to their daughter Clair with the words:  "They were always so sweet to me when I came round to see you all, only the other day I was thinking of your mother in her tomato house, and all the ferns she used to cultivate in her Chianti bottles"

A Sunlit Garden, Twynholm

A Sunlit Garden, Twynholm

Garden at Twynholm

Garden at Twynholm

High Street, Kirkcudbright

High Street, Kirkcudbright