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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


90 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [The Mound, Sculpture had its origin early in the present century, though in past times the Scottish School of ?Painters ranked among its number several celebrities. Of these the most noted was George Jameson, born at Aberdeen in 1586; he studied under Rubens, and won himself the name of the Scottish Vandyke. Charles I. sat to him for his portrait, as did many other great Scotsmen of the period. He was succeeded by the elder Scougal, a painter of many works ; Scougal the younger ; De Witte ; Nicolas Hude, a French Protestant refugee; John Baptist0 Medina, a native of Brussels, whose son John was a ?( Limner? in Hyndford?s Close in 1784; Aikman; Wait; Allan Ramsay (son of the poet); Norrie, the landscape painter;? the Runcimans, Brown, and latterly David Allan, Graham, Wilkie, Gibson, Thomson, Raeburn, and the Watsons. The first movement towards fostering native art was, undoubtedly, the appointment by the Board of Trustees, in 1760, of a permanent master for the instruction of the youth of both sexes in drawing, thus Iaying the foundation of a School of Design. The second important organisation was that named the ?Institution for the En. couragement of the Fine Arts,? founded on the 1st of February, 1819, on the model of the British Institution of London, for the annual exhibition oi pictures by old masters, and subsequently those of living artists. It consisted chiefly of gentlemen, who, on the payment of A50, became shareholders or life-members. The first exhibition by the Institution was in York Place, in March, 1819, but owing to certain complications between it and artists generally, they were, even if members, not permitted to exercise the sliL!itest control over the funds. Prior to this time the leading artists resident in Edinburgh had associated together for the purpose of having an annual exhibition of their works, which was also held in York Place. The first of these occurred in 1808, and Lord Cockburn refers to it as the most gratifying occurrence of the period, and as one that ?proclaimed the dawn of modern Scottish art.? Among the pictures shown on that auspicious occasion the catalogue records three by George Watson, including the portrait of the celebrated Bishop Hay; three by A. Nasmyth; two by Douglas, one being a portrait of Mrs. Boswell of Auchinleck ; three fancy pictures by Case ; ?? The Fa1 of Buchan crowning Master Gattie,? by W. Lizars; a black chalk landscape by Thomson; and in the succeeding year, 1809, the catalogue mentions, briefly noted, five by Raeburn, including his Walter Scott; three by Gorge Watson, one being the ?? Portrait of an Old Scots Jacobite;? three by Thomson of Duddingston ; a fancy picture of Queen Mary, by.John Watson, afterwards Sir J. W. Gordon. Carse, called the Teniers of Scotland, died early ; but ?this exhibition did incalculable good. It drew such artists as we had out of their obscurity; it showed them their strength and their weakness : it excited public attention: it gave them importance.? During five exhibitions, between 1809 and 1813, the members thus associated saved ,61,888, hut not being sufficiently restricted by their laws from dissolving at any time, the sum amassed proved a temptation, and it was divided among the exhibitors. The Society then broke up and dispersed, and it was while they were in this state of disorganisation that the Directors of the Institution, finding the old masters not sufficiently attractive to the public, made overtures to the artists for an exhibition of modern pictures and sculpture under their auspices, and to set the proceeds aside for the benefit of the said artists and their families. Thus the first exhibition of the works of living artists under the direction of the Institution took place in 1821, and it proved such a success that it was repeated yearly till I 82 9. The Institution had in 1826, besides one hundred and thirty-one ordinary members, thirteen honorary, five of whom were artists, under the title of Associate Members, and the exhibitions were held in the Galleries of the Royal Institution, for which an attnual rent of A380 was paid; but as great discontent was expressed by artists who were Associate Members, because they were denied all consideration in the inanagement in the year mentioned, they resolved to found a Scottish Academy. It was in the summer of 1826 that the document by which this important movement was inaugurated went round for signature in the hands otillr. William Nicholson. When published, twenty-four names appeared to it : those of thirteen Academicians, nii e Associates, and two Associate Engravers. The first general meeting of ?The Scottish Academy of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture,? was held on the 27th of May, 1826, Mr. Patrick Syme in the chair, and the following gentlemen were elected as office-bearers for the year :-George Watson, President ; William Nicholson, Secretmy ; Thomas Hamilton, Treamrn: The Council consisted of four. Mr. George Watson, who has been justly deemed the founder of the Academy, was the son
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