Hard At It by Sir James Guthrie (1859-1930). Painted in Cockburnspath near Dunbar in 1883, Guthrie depicts an artist at work, perhaps himself. The large umbrella was used to shade the canvas and maintain an even light tone.
Guthrie was born in Greenock. He studied law at the University of Glasgow but left before graduating to become a painter. He joined the St Mungo Society (a club for young Glasgow artists) and became a friend of E A Walton (1860-1922). Through Walton Guthrie met Joseph Crawhall (1861-1913) and all three later became significant figures in the group of artists known as the Glasgow Boys.
In 1879 Guthrie met the Scottish painter John Pettie (1839-1893), and arranged to become one of Pettie's pupils in London. He remained there until 1881. An introduction to the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884) during a visit to Paris in 1882 had a profound effect on Guthrie and influenced his own style of painting.
Guthrie lived in Cocksburnspath 1883-1885 before returning to Glasgow and concentrating on portraiture. In the 1890s he moved to London, and then to Edinburgh. In 1888 he was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA), becoming President in 1902. He was knighted in 1903.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow city Council, Glasgow Museums
artists, Glasgow Boys, Glasgow School, oil paintings, portrait painters, Royal Scottish Academy, RSA, self portraits, St Mungo Society, umbrellas