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Gracefield Collection

Craigdarroch Water (Landscape with River)

19th Century

James Paterson was born in Glasgow, the son of a successful manufacturer. He embarked on a career in buisiness himself and took watercolour classes in his spare time until, in 1877, he decided to go to Paris to study painting full-time. He remained in France until 1882 occasionally returning to paint in Scotland in the summers.


In 1884 he settled in the Dumfriesshire village of Moniaive and would paint out of doors in the surrounding landscape in oil and watercolour. He built a studio at Craigdarroch to allow him to paint snow scenes. He was friendly with painter W. Y. McGregor and painted alongside him from as early as his summer trips home from Paris. They were both part of the older group of the Glasgow Boys but Paterson remained very much on the fringes of this group, family commitments limiting the time he coud spend painting with them.


Paterson left the south-west for Edinburgh in 1905. After the death of his wife in 1910 he began to travel in Europe and this was to have a profound impact on his palette. The restrained colours of works such as Landscape with River (Craigdarroch Water) gave way to brighter, vividly coloured depictions of the Mediterranean landscape.

watercolour on paper
521 x 343mm
Gracefield Arts Centre
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Dumfries & Galloway Council