William Marshall Brown RSA (1863–1936)
William Marshall Brown was not a native of East Lothian, but like many artists he was captivated by the coast and landscape of the county and the inhabitants of these districts. He spent many years working in the county and many of the figures he painted – fisher girls and farmworkers feature strongly – were characteristic of his times. Even when a scene is not named, the East Lothian connection can often be discerned in the details – for example, ‘ugli’ bonnets, creels and baskets.
Born in Edinburgh, Marshall Brown studied at the city’s Royal Institute and the RSA’s Life School. He also spent time in London and painted in the Netherlands and France but became recognised for his figurative work in Scottish landscape settings. Although he ranged widely across Scotland he, like the ‘Glasgow Boys’, found Cockburnspath a useful base and kept a studio there from which he executed some of his best work. Many of his works are large, exhibiting broad and rapid brushwork and a bright palette. A favourite composition might be executed several times with slight variations.
He was elected ARSA in 1909 and RSA in 1928.
You can view all the paintings East Lothian Council owns by William Marshall Brown, and others, on the YourPaintings website.
Further Reading: Martin A Forrest, Artists in East Lothian 1850 to 1920, Proceedings of Haddington’s History Society 1994-5.