Henry Wright Kerr RSA RSW
Portrait of an Elderly Man
Size without frame: 13 x 9 inches
Size with frame: 23 x 19 inches
Born Edinburgh; died Edinburgh, 18 February. Painter in oil and watercolour of portraits and figurative subjects. One of the most prolific Scottish artists, a fine recorder of Scottish character and the Scottish scene and a painter of considerable imagination and sympathy. Best known for his portraits of elderly, characterful gentlemen and for his book illustrations. Many of the books he illustrated remain popular today. Early education was in Dundee where he was apprenticed to a manufacturer. Then took up an appointment in Leith so that he could attend art classes at the Board of Manufacturers and Life School of the RSA. In 1882 his first watercolour landscape was exhibited at the RSA. In addition to working in Scotland, he embarked on a sketching trip to Holland where he came under the influence of the Hague School. Also visited Ireland where, by his portrayal of local character he was regarded as the natural successor to Erskine Nicol. Visited Connemara 1888. Illustrated some of Galt’s novels, but his best known illustrations were for Dean Ramsay’s Scottish Life and Character 1909; Mitford’s Annals of the Parish 1911; G A Birmingham’s The Lighter Side of Irish Life1911 and Galt’s The Last of the Lairds 1926. In 1923-23 he acted as Deputy President of the RSA. Earned a reputation as a portrait painter, two of his most important works being ‘Principal Martin’ (RSA1930/31) and ‘Dr Darling, Master of the Merchant Company’ (now in the Merchants’ Hall). Elected RSW 1891, ARSA 1893, RSA 1909. Exhibited RA(8), RSA(159), RSW(70), GI(26), AAS, RI(1) and L(12). Represented in NGS, SNPG (60), Dundee AG, Glasgow AG, Kirkcaldy AG and City of Edinburgh collection.