William McTaggart RSA RSW
Children Playing on the Beach
Size without frame: 13.75x20.25 in
Size with frame: 16.5x23 in
Born Aros, near Campbeltown, Argyll and died Dean Park, Broomieknowe, Midlothian. Son of a crofter. As a boy he was first apprenticed to a chemist in Campbeltown but left home and went to Edinburgh. His childhood days on the Mull of Kintyre induced a love of the sea that remained with him for the rest of his life. Trained at the Trustees Academy in Edinburgh under Scott Lauder, while John Pettie, Hugh Cameron and Tom Graham counted amongst his contemporaries. Began exhibiting at the age of 18 and won several prizes as a student, specialising in portrait commissions. By 1857 he decided to concentrate on landscape and figure subjects limiting himself to portraits, mainly of children, only when he badly needed the money. After his marriage in 1863, he settled in Fairlie near Largs, spending the winter working on large oils and sketching on the coast during the summer. By 1860 his interest in impression and mood was overtaking his interest in detail and his lack of ‘finish’ was beginning to find criticism. Elected ARSA 1859 and RSA 1870. Friendship with Sam Bough was instrumental in arousing an interest in watercolours and in 1878 he was elected President of the newly formed Society of Scottish Watercolour Painters. Grandfather of Sir William Mactaggart.