Sir James Guthrie

Biography of Sir James Guthrie

James Guthrie was a student of law at the University. He later became known as painter of Scottish Realism. He was born on 10 June 1859 in Greenock, the youngest son of the Rev. John Guthrie, a minister of the Evangelical Union church.

Guthrie matriculated at the University aged 15 to study for an arts degree, but left in 1877 to take up a career in painting. Many of his most important works, including A Hind’s Daughter (National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh), were painted in the Scottish Borders where Guthrie spent a large amount of his time. In 1888 he was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, becoming a full member in 1892. He became president of the RSA in 1902, succeeding George Reid. He was knighted the following year. Guthrie was commissioned by many notable figures of his time, such as Herbert Henry Asquith, Arthur James Balfour and Bonar Law.

In 1930 Guthrie was commissioned by the South African financier Sir Abraham Bailey, 1st Baronet to produce a painting commemorating the politicians and statesmen of Britain and its allies who held office during the First World War. The painting entitled Statesmen of World War I, and was donated to the National Portrait Gallery, London. Shortly after completing the painting Guthrie passed away at his home in Rhu, Dunbartonshire.


Sir James Guthrie
Born 10 June 1859.
Died 9 September 1930.
University Link: Student
GU Degree:
Occupation categories: artists; painters
Record last updated: 9th May 2017

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  • Student

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