Waller Hugh Paton RSA RSW
Size without frame: 4 3/4 x 7 1/2 inches
Size with frame: 9 1/4 x 12 inches
Born Wooers-Alley, Dunfermline July 27; died Edinburgh March 8. Painter in oil but principally watercolour of landscapes; illustrator. Son of a Dunfermline damask designer, antiquarian and religious mystic. Brother of Joseph Noel Paton, father of Waller Hubert Paton. Began by assisting his father. In 1848 he became increasingly interested in landscape painting and took lessons in watercolour from John Adam Houston. Joined his brother on sketching holidays at the family’s summer home on Arran. In 1858, with his brother, illustrated Ayton’s Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers (1863); also Poems and Songs by Robert Burns (1875). His wife was also an artist. From 1859 he lived in Edinburgh although spending long spells in London. In 1861 and again in 1868 toured the continent. Queen Victoria commissioned him to undertake a drawing of Holyrood Palace in 1862. The first Scottish painter to work entirely in the open air, most of his compositions being of the hill and river scenery of Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and especially Arran, often at sunset. A most prolific artist, all his major works and many of the smaller studies were reproduced in postcard size in four volumes, all of which remained in the family until sold at auction and subsequently dispersed. His portrayal of the Scottish Highlands in pre-Raphaelite detail and with a predilection for sunset in unsurpassed. Unfortunately, his habit of using strong bodycolour for highlights and depth has led to fading, especially in the sky. The sheer number of his watercolours which appear on the market and his brother’s greater fame as an oil painter have resulted in insufficient attention being given to the many fine large oils that he produced. His prevailing colour was the purple of the northern sunset for which in his lifetime he was criticised by Caw and others, although on occasion was defended by Ruskin. Those who loved the dramatic qualities of the Highlands without the intrusion of Highland cattle or deer and very often of people, find in Paton’s work peaceful charm that is seldom found elsewhere. Went to great lengths to locate places of historical and local interest as well as views having special aesthetic appeal.
Elected FSA (Scot) 1869, RSW 1878, ARSA 1857, RSA 1865.