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Art in Scotland
James Eckford Lauder

Born, 1812; died, 29th March 1869.

One of two talented brothers who were both born in Edinburgh. He was a student at the Trustees' Academy under Sir William Allan and his able coadjutor and assistant Thomas Duncan, after which he studied in Rome for about five years, where he was a most industrious worker, and on his return to Edinburgh was elected an Associate of the Academy there in the year 1839. To his important pictures of Wisdom, and the Unjust Steward, he devoted nearly five years of his life, the latter of which gained a £zoo premium at the Westminster Hall competition of 1847. He afterwards produced many good works, some of considerable importance, among which may be mentioned his Ferdinand and Miranda, in 1848; Lorenzo and Jessica, 1849; a Maiden's Reverie, 1852; a Money-lender, Walter Scott and Sandy Ormiston, and Bailie Macwheeble at Breakfast,2 1854; and Sir Tristram teaching the Harp to La Belle Isoude. The second-last mentioned of these, engraved for the subscribers of the Scottish Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts, is a capital picture, full of quiet quaint humour, and as an engraving, divides his popularity with his beautiful picture of the Ten Virgins, exhibited in the Scottish Academy in 1855, and engraved for the same Association on a large scale by Lumb Stocks.

Not finding his figure-subjects sufficiently appreciated by picture- buyers, he latterly turned his attention to a greater extent than he had hitherto done to landscape-painting, varied by an occasional portrait. Besides Scottish scenes, he drew largely upon his sketches made while in Italy, and these constituted the greater number of his exhibits at the Scottish Academy during the few years prior to his death. Probably the most important and finest figure-picture (and this was his true forte) painted prior to his death, was Michael Angelo nursing his old and faithful servant Urbino, exhibited in i86o. He was possessed of considerable power and lofty aspirations, and it is supposed that the want of substantial recognition preyed upon his mind, and so tended to shorten a life begun full of lofty enthusiasm and earnest endeavour. He was elected an Academician of the Scottish Academy in 1846, his diploma picture to their Gallery being Hagar beside the Fountain, a picture fully 4 feet in length, but not one of his best works.

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