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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

Donald Watson 1918 - 2005

Donald Watson was born at Cranleigh, Surrey. He began to draw birds as a child and was encouraged in this by the celebrated wildlife artist Archibald Thorburn. The family moved to Edinburgh following his father’s death in 1931.  Donald attended Edinburgh Academy. There he met a former pupil, George Waterston, Director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Scotland, and President of the Midlothian Ornithologists' Club, which became the Scottish Ornithologists' Club in 1936.

After attending St John’s College, Oxford, he saw active service in Burma.  He returned home in 1946 and was further encouraged by two Dumfriesshire ornithologists, the Rev. J.M. McWilliam, and Arthur Duncan, Chairman of the Nature Conservancy.  Arthur Duncan invited him to stay at his house in Tynron to undertake a series of paintings of birds in their habitat.

Donald married Joan Moore in 1950 and the couple moved to St John’s Town of Dalry.

Donald Watson specialised in painting birds in their natural environment. He had his first one-man exhibition in Edinburgh in 1949, followed by exhibitions at home and abroad.   According to his obituary in the Scotsman: “Donald's ability to relate wildlife, especially birds, to their landscape was magical, capturing perfectly the natural movement and "choreography" of birds in flight. In 1962 he began his series of bird illustrations with the Oxford Book of British Birds (OUP), which involved 96 colour plates, one a week for two years. These included all birds that had been identified in the British Isles”.

In total he illustrated over 30 books.  In 1964 he became a founder member of the Society of Wildlife Artists, and was also President of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club. He  was a local bird recorder for Galloway for over 30 years.

He was not only a painter, but also a gifted author. His first book, which he both wrote and illustrated, was "Birds of Moor and Mountain" (1972).  He may be be best remembered for his special love of the Hen Harrier, which he studied and painted in Galloway for many years and about which he wrote a definitive monograph published in 1977.  This was followed by "A Bird Artist in Scotland" (1988), and "One Pair of Eyes" (1994).

He died in Dumfries. He and his wife are buried in Dalry Kirkyard.

The Donald Watson Gallery, an exhibition space for wildlife artists at Waterston House in Aberlady, East Lothian is named after him