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James Douglas, Artist







  James Douglas, Artist James Douglas photo
  Self portrait (?1830) Photograph taken in later life



James Douglas (24/7/1810 Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland - 17/3/1888 16 Amberley Grove, Croydon, Surrey, England) was a Portrait Painter and Picture restorer


He was the son of Gabriel Douglas, a Watchmaker and later the Proprietor of the Portland Arms in Troon, Ayrshire and a Vintner in Irvine, and his wife Elizabeth Paterson.


The first cousin of Gabriel Douglas, born 1822 Muirkirk, Ayrshire, James was the father of Edwin James Douglas, born 1848 in Edinburgh.

He married Margaret McIlwraith, and had a son, portrait painter, Edwin, and 5 daughters.


- Painted Lord Melville, Duke of Buccleuch, Earl of Strathmore, Earl of Moray

- Lived at:

-     9 and 80 Hill Square, Edinburgh (between 1835 and 1860).

-     Grange Loan, Edinburgh (1871).

-     Westcott, near Dorking, Surrey (1872).

-     17 Clyde Road, Croydon, Surrey (1881)

- Born, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

- Studied RSA, 1841-44

- Exhibited RSA, 1837-43

 "The Academy had in its membership one riddlemaker, two house painters, one cobbler, one tailor, one confectioner, one cabinetmaker, one mason, one pattern designer, one currier, and two young artists, Douglas and Morris. The Academy was to be a home for wandered artists, or artists visiting the town were to be recognised as honorary members..." Scenes from an Artist's Life by John Kelso Hunter 1802 to 1873. Note:John Kelso Hunter was a Portrait Painter in Kilmarnock


Kilmarnock History Chapter XXIV: "Mr James Douglas resides, we believe, in Edinburgh, and follows the art of portrait painting. In imitating the old masters, and retouching and repairing ancient pictures, he is said to be very successful. "


Sally Douglas contirbutes:
James Douglas 1810 Kilmarnock, Ayrshire - a self portrait. James was a Portrait Painter and Picture Restorer. He was the son of Gabriel Douglas 1784 Jedburgh, Roxburghshire and Elizabeth Paterson c1784.


James painted an equestrian portrait after Vandyck which apparently hung in the Great Hall of Daraway Castle in the 1800's - but they had a fire there. The Stewart Society has checked to see if they could find anything on the painting and they asked the current Lord at Darnaway Castle, but the answer was negative. James Douglas also attended the Royal Scottish Academy where he exhibited his art.(Confirmed by the Academy). He also painted Lord Melville and the painting hung in Archer's Hall of the Royal Scottish Academy at some stage.


James also painted several pictures of the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl of Strathmore and the Earl of Moray. He also painted his grand father John Douglas 1759 Jedburgh a Master Clock and Watch maker at the age of about 16 and the image here is a self portrait at the age of about 16. James was a first cousin of my great grandfather Gabriel Douglas 1822 Muirkirk, Ayrshire - a Watchmaker and Jeweler. Gabriel Douglas 1822 had a brother John Douglas who was a snuff box Painter and Artist as well as being a Photographer, including carte-de-visite.


Unfortunately John's art was mainly lost in the bombing of the Clyde.(from Andrew Gibson - a descendant of John's). Ducan Forbes a Senior Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland replied to a query from me - "... It seems we do hold four cartes-de-visites by Douglas, but as our collection of these objects is uncatalogued they would be very difficult to locate.


There is also brief mention of Douglas in B. E. C. Howarth-Loomes, Victorian Photography: a Collector’s Guide, (London, 1974), p. 53. The author illustrates a Douglas ambrotype and dates it to c.1856. However, I am not sure where that object is now held."


With his second wife Margaret Anderson, Gabriel Douglas had three children and only one survived to adulthood - Ann/Annie. Margaret Anderson was also a Vintner. James Douglas had two brothers who were Watchmakers - George Douglas and Gabriel O (Oliver?) Douglas. The eldest sibling of James Douglas, a Mary Douglas married Humphrey Stevenson and one of Humphrey's brothers James Stevenson is the ancestor of Louise Mary Rose the first wife of Sir Edmund Hillary.


Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018