John Guthrie Spence Smith

1880 - 1951

Artist. Born in Perth, the son of a draper, Smith suffered from scarlet fever as an infant which left him deaf and dumb for the rest of his life. He attended special schools in Dundee and Edinburgh, but with a passion for drawing, began to produce caricatures that proved popular. However, he turned to painting, taking art classes at the Dundee Technical Institute, the Royal Scottish Academy School in Edinburgh and evening classes at the Edinburgh College of Art (1908-10).

Smith established a reputation for landscapes, streetscapes and picturesque old buildings. His paintings in watercolour and oil were notable for their strong colours and decorative quality. He travelled to France in 1911 and 1912, but was to concentrate his efforts in Scotland producing depictions of Ballachulish, Ceres, Crail, Haddington, Glen Coe, Craigmillar Castle and pasture scenes at Craigmillar, Edinburgh Castle, John Knox's House and Bakehouse Close in Edinburgh, St. Andrews Cathedral, St. Monan's Kirk, Murthly Castle (Perthshire), Skinnergate (Perth) and Taynuilt Church. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1930 and a full Academician in 1939.

Smith died unmarried in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. His work is held in various public collections, including Aberdeen Art Gallery, the City Art Centre in Edinburgh, the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Perth Museum and Art Gallery and the Wardlaw Museum at University of St. Andrews.

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