In 1903 The Art Journal published a profile of the in-coming President of the Royal Scottish Academy. Educated, erudite and of good stock, the painter, James Guthrie, was well-suited to a role that mixed diplomacy with artistic judgement in the leadership of an organization that had been perceived as reactionary and parochial. Guthrie’s work from this point was restricted almost exclusively to commissioned portraits and, unlike Lavery, he seems to have painted only what was demanded. Sadly, the radicalism of Midsummer, 1892, his Royal Scottish Academy diploma picture, was shelved. This colourful depiction of three young women taking afternoon tea in a shady corner of the garden at Thornton Lodge in Helensburgh, had been praised by George Moore as ‘summer’s very moment of complete efflorescence’ (Moore, p. 206). is extraordinary therefore to find that its fresh Impressionist handling was revived for one exceptional work almost thirty years later. Garden Party. — Kenneth McConkey

Portraits and single figures



Aikman, George. ‘The New President of the Royal Scottish Academy’, The Art Journal (1903): 26–27.

Caw, Sir James L. Sir James Guthrie, PRSA, A Biography. London: Macmillan, 1932.

McConkey, Kenneth. Lavery and the Glasgow Boys. Exhibition Catalogue. Clandeboye, County Down: The Ava Gallery; Edinburgh: Bourne Fine Art; London: The Fine Art Society, 2010. No. 27.

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Moore, George. Modern Painting. London: William Scott, 1893/

Last modified 23 August 2021