William “Crimean” Simpson (1823-1899) was Britain’s first war artist.
After serving an apprenticeship with the Glasgow lithographers Allan & Ferguson, Simpson went to London in 1851 to work for Day & Son. When Britain, France and Turkey invaded the Crimea in 1854 he was invited to go with the troops to sketch and paint scenes from the fronts. Simpson returned to Britain after travelling for three years in the Caucuses, India, Ceylon and Tibet, and joined the staff of the Illustrated London News.
As a roving artist, Simpson entered France with the invading Prussian troops in 1870 and was resident in Paris during the great siege. In the 1870s he visited China, Japan and the USA. His sketches of the Crimean War were published in two volumes, and collections of his work from his foreign travels were also published. However, in Glasgow he is best remembered for his drawings, sketches and paintings of the city and its environs.
Many of Simpson’s lithographs were published by Robert Stuart & Co (without attribution) in Views and Notices of Glasgow in Former Times (1847). In 1899 Simpson published Glasgow in the Forties, consisting of forty-eight black and white copies of watercolours he had painted as a young man.
Reference: Mitchell Library, 920.04BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
Allan & Ferguson, Crimean War, Illustrated London News, lithographers, Robert Stuart & Co, war artists, watercolours