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Pettie, John

PETTIE, JOHN (1839-1893), Scottish painter, was born in Edinburgh on the 17th of March 1839, the son of Alexander and Alison Pettie. In 1852 the family removed to East Linton, Haddingtonshire, and a portrait by the lad of the village carrier and his donkey overcame his father's objections to art as a career for his son. When sixteen he entered the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh, working under Robert Scott Lauder with W. Q. Orchardson, J. MacWhirter, W. M'Taggart, Peter Graham, Tom Graham and G. P. Chalmers. His first exhibits at the Royal Scottish Academy were " A Scene from the Fortunes of Nigel " one of the many subjects for which he sought inspiration in the novels of Sir Walter Scott and two portraits in 1858, followed in 1859 by " The Prison Pet." To the Royal Academy in 1860 he sent "The Armourers "; and the success of this work and of " What d'ye Lack, Madam ? " in the following year, encouraged him to settle in London (1862), where he joined Orchardson. In 1866 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, and in 1874 received full academical honours in succession to Sir Edwin Landseer. His diploma picture was " Jacobites, 1745." Pettie was a hard and rapid worker, and, in his best days, a colourist of a high order and a brilliant executant. In his early days he produced a certain amount of book illustration. His connexion with Good Words began in 1861, and was continued till 1864. With J. MacWhirter he illustrated The Postman's Bag (Strahan, 1862), and Wordsworth's Poetry for the Young (Strahan, 1863). His principal paintings, in addition to those already mentioned, are " Cromwell's Saints " (1862); " The Trio " (1863); " George Fox refusing to take the Oath " (1864); " A Drumhead Courtmartial "(1865); "The Arrest for Witchcraft " (1866); "Treason" (1867, now in the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield); " Tussle with a Highland Smuggler " (1868); " The Sally " (1870); " Terms to the Besieged " (1872); " The Flag of Truce " (1873); " Ho! Ho ! Old Noll" and "A State Secret" (1874); "A Sword and Dagger Fight" (1877); " The Death Warrant " (1879); " Monmouthand James II."(1882); " The Vigil " (1884, in the Chantrey Collection, National Gallery of British Art); " Challenged " (1885); " The Chieftain's Candlesticks " (1886); " Two Strings to Her Bow " (1887); " The Traitor " and " Sir Charles Wyndham as David Garrick " (1888); and " The Ultimatum " and " Bonnie Prince Charlie " (1892). Pettie died at Hastings on the 21st of February 1893. In 1894 a selection of his work was included in the Winter Exhibition of the Royal Academy. His portrait by himself is in the Tate Gallery.

John Pettie, R.A. (London, 1908), by his nephew Martin Hardie, gives the story of his life, a catalogue of his pictures, and fifty reproductions in colours.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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