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Art in Scotland
Robert Scott Lauder

Born, 1803; died, 22d April 1869.

The elder brother of the last-mentioned artist, also born at Silvermills, Edinburgh, early developed a strong love for art, and a tendency towards following it as a profession in spite of obstructions thrown in his way at home. When very young, he attempted some designs from the 'Arabian Nights' Entertainments'; and about the same time having made the acquaintance of David Roberts, who was his senior by seven years, and then a house-painter in Edinburgh, his natural inclination was confirmed by the enthusiasm of that artist. Subsequent to this, through the influence of Sir Walter Scott, he was enabled to enter the Trustees' Academy, then taught by Andrew Wilson, where he remained for five years, principally drawing from the antique, after which he spent three years in London studying in the British Museum and attending the life-class of a private art-school. He returned to Edinburgh in 1826; four years later he joined the Scottish Academy as full member, from the Royal Institution, and began to assist Sir William Allan in conducting the classes in the Trustees' Academy. Among the other friendships which he contracted with the Edinburgh artists was that of the Rev. John Thomson, whose acquaintance possibly exercised a beneficial influence on his style in regard to breadth of effect and flow of line, and whose daughter he married. In company with his young wife he set off in 1833 for the Continent, remaining away some five years studying at Rome, Florence, Bologna, and Venice, returning by Munich, in the course of which his style was still further matured by the study of the great works of Titian and Giorgione in Italy, and those of Rubens in the Bavarian capital and the Northern collections. On his return to Britain he made London his home for a few years, during which time he created a considerable sensation there by a Crucifixion, a splendid picture, in which the figure of the Saviour on the cross was represented covered with a white cloth. It was shown at one of the minor exhibitions in London, and afterwards also in Edinburgh. In 1844, after which the Crucifixion was painted, his picture of Claverhouse ordering Morton to be Shot was purchased by the London Art Union for 400. This was the best period of his works, the most important of which were the admirable Trial of Effie Deans, other subjects from Scott's novels, and the large though somewhat weak Christ teaching Humility, full of fine colour, grace, and dignity. The last work was the first purchase made by the Association for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland for disposition in the Scottish National Gallery, and was the last great picture painted by the artist.

At the close of 1849 he returned to Edinburgh, and was elected to the office of head-master in the old Academy, of which he had been such an honourable pupil, and in the same year exhibited at the Royal Academy his Bride of Lammermoor, which was purchased by Lord Egerton. His Christ walking on the Sea was exhibited at the Scottish Academy in 1850, and, like the former Scriptural subject, has been engraved.' Among his other engraved works are Italian Goatherds, Ruth, and the Glee-maiden (the latter by Lumb Stocks), issued by the Association for the years 1843, 1844, and 1845. In 1847 he was one of the unsuccessful competitors at the Westminster Hall competition with the two previously mentioned Scriptural subjects, at which his brother was more fortunate; and died on the 22d April 1869, after having suffered during the previous eight years from paralysis, in which time the disease prevented his nerveless hand from wielding the brush, which he had so nobly used in the days of his health, although always represented in the Academy.

He had a keen perception of the beautiful in colour and form, which, with a graceful and harmonious flow of line, pervades all his works. His labours as an art teacher have been duly recognised by the artists who had the good fortune to benefit by his teaching, among whom were the late Mr Robert Herdman, Orchardson, Pettie, Peter Graham, Hugh Cameron, and other eminent artists, whose style he has largely influenced. In November of 1870 a monument executed by his pupil John Hutchison, R.S.A., was inaugurated in Warriston Cemetery, consisting of a handsome slab of grey Sicilian marble, with an alto-relievo head in white marble, the cost of which was defrayed by his former pupils.

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