British painter, etcher, and draughtsman. He was born in Dumbarton, where he was briefly apprenticed to a shipbuilding firm before moving to London (he lived there for the rest of his life) and studying at the *Slade School, 1876–80. Under the guidance of Alphonse *Legros he took up etching and it was in this field that he originally made a name for himself. By the mid-1890s he had an international reputation, but from this time he turned increasingly to painting, and after the turn of the century he was regarded more as a painter-etcher than an etcher-painter. At first he concentrated on imaginative (often allegorical) scenes in a pseudo-Venetian manner influenced by his friends *Ricketts and *Shannon, but he came to specialize mainly in portraits—one of the most striking examples is Lady with a Red Hat (1918, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow), in which the sitter is the writer Vita Sackville-West.
Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)