John Duncan Fergusson

(J.D. Fergusson)

1874 - 1961

Painter. The youngest of four children, J.D. Fergusson was born and brought up in Leith. He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and initially followed a medical career before being drawn to Paris (1895) where he developed his artistic technique and rubbed shoulders with the young Matisse and Picasso. Fergusson's style was characterised by strong colour, evident brush-work and elegance of design. He was strongly influenced by Samuel J. Peploe (1871 - 1935), who had also trained in Paris, and stayed with Peploe's family when in Edinburgh. With Peploe, Francis Cadell (1883 - 1937) and George Hunter (1879 - 1931), Fergusson was one of the Scottish Colourists, but maintained studios in Paris and in London, where he met his wife. Towards the end of the First World War, he painted a series of dramatic pictures around the Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth. When the Second World War was looming, Fergusson and his wife, the dance teacher and artist Margaret Morris (1891 - 1980), settled in Glasgow. He had been friendly with Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 - 1928) and it is thought that Fergusson encouraged Mackintosh to paint. As a member of the Glasgow School, Fergusson was undoubtedly one of Scotland's most important 20th C. artists. He received an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow (1950) and died in the city some 11 years later. He lies buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh.

The University of Stirling was gifted a collection of 14 of his paintings by his widow (1968), while the Fergusson Gallery in Perth holds the largest collection of his works.

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