About this artwork

William McTaggart and George Paul Chalmers were both taught by Robert Scott Lauder at the Trustees’ Academy in Edinburgh. McTaggart was born on the Mull of Kintyre and returned there frequently from his studio in Glasgow and later from his home in Broomieknow, just outside Edinburgh. Following his time at the Trustees’ Academy, McTaggart was elected as an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy aged twenty-four. He has become known for his land and seascapes which reflect his fascination with nature and man’s relationship with it. Chalmer’s portrait of his friend focuses on his face, where the painting is more detailed in comparison to the fluid and expressive brushstrokes of his jacket.

George Paul Chalmers

George Paul Chalmers

Chalmers began sketching at a young age, and by 1851 he was painting oil portraits of locals in his native Montrose. This eventually earned him enough money to move to Edinburgh, where at the age of twenty he became a student of the Trustees' Academy under Robert Scott Lauder. Despite this education, he never became an accomplished draughtsman, but his loose handling of paint often conceals this. He had a particular talent for capturing the effects of light and colour as well as a strong appreciation of the picturesque. Chalmers settled in Edinburgh where he led a quiet and uneventful life painting portraits, genre, and landscape. This was varied by occasional painting trips to Ireland, Skye, Glenesk, and even Europe. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1867, and a full member in 1871.