About this artwork

Pringle’s preferred subjects were found in his local area, from scenes of streets and tenement buildings to portraits of his friends and family. Although the identity of the sitter in this portrait is unknown, he is most likely a boy from the east-end of Glasgow, where Pringle ran a shop. Smartly dressed in his Sunday best, the boy’s expression suggests discomfort at his role as subject of the portrait. This may have led to the painting being known as 'A Reluctant Subject'. Pringle’s use of square brushstrokes shows the influence of French Neo-Impressionism, although his art education was gained primarily through taking classes at Glasgow School of Art and visiting exhibitions in Scotland. He did travel abroad once, to Normandy in 1910, the year this portrait was painted.

  • title: Portrait of a Boy
  • accession number: GMA 4348
  • artist: John Quinton PringleScottish (1864 - 1925)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Children
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1910
  • measurements: 54.00 x 43.00 cm
  • credit line: Purchased 2000
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

John Quinton Pringle

John Quinton Pringle

Pringle was born in the East End of Glasgow. He left school at the age of twelve and was apprenticed to an optician, establishing his own shop in Glasgow in 1896. Although he worked full-time until 1923, Pringle took evening classes at Glasgow School of Art from 1885. He seldom exhibited and painted comparatively few works, most of which are small in scale. Pringle's characteristic style was to paint with small, square brushstrokes. His subjects were from his home or nearby, such as family, friends and the back court of his tenement building.