Sir William Wright Smith (1875–1956), FRSE

© estate of Stanley Cursiter. All rights reserved, DACS 2024. Image credit: The Royal Society of Edinburgh

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This work is a duplicate of the portrait presented by the artist to the sitter. Born at Lochmaben, Smith received his education at Dumfries Academy and, as First Bursar, entered Edinburgh University where he studied the arts and qualified as a teacher. His interest in botany and zoology led Professor Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour to invite him to join the staff of the Botany Department of Edinburgh University in 1902. In 1907 he went to Calcutta to take charge of the Royal Botanic Garden and, while there, he explored for plants in Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. In 1911 he undertook the description of the extensive collections being received from collectors, such as George Forrest, then working in India and China. In 1922 he succeeded Balfour as Regius Keeper of the Garden and Regius Professor of Botany and later became Queen's Botanist in Scotland.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh



Sir William Wright Smith (1875–1956), FRSE




oil on canvas


H 100 x W 75 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the artist, 1945

Work type



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The Royal Society of Edinburgh

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