Born Edinburgh. Studied art at the RSA Life School, but disillusioned with teaching there he went to Paris where he enrolled at the Academie Julian. After 3 years in Paris, having had a watercolour exhibition at the Paris Salon in 1899, he returned to Scotland. First exhibited at RSA in 1902. Spent 2 years in Munich, 1906-8. Visited Venice in 1910 where his work became more vibrant, responding to the intensity of light. In 1915 joined the Royal Scots, serving in France. In 1916, his sketches of army life, originally sold for the Red Cross, were collated in the form of a book and published as Jack and Tommy. After the war, every summer was spent on Iona, which he had first discovered in 1912.
Although accepted by the artistic establishment, having been elected ARSA 1931, RSW 1935 (the only Colourist to be elected) and RSA 1936, his work was not selling well and he died poor, having applied in 1936 for financial assistance from the Nasmyth Fund for the Relief of Decayed Scottish Artists.
Signed and dated 1906 – this is a rare early work.