Archibald Thorburn Biography | Oil Paintings.

5-31-1860 Lasswade, SCO – 10-9-1935 Hascombe, ENG

Thorburn, Archibald

Archibald Thorburn (the Painter) was the fifth son of Robert Thorburn, portrait miniaturist to Queen Victoria. Archibald Thorburn was first educated in Scotland, in his late teens, he was sent to the recently established St John's Wood School of Art in London. His stay at the school was brief, because of the death of his father, he could not afford to stay, so he sought the guidance of animal painter Joseph Wolf.

He first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of twenty and was a regular figure there throughout the 1880s and 1890s. It was his commission in 1887 to illustrate Lord Lilford's book Colored Figures of the Birds of the British Isles, that established his reputation, painting 268 bird watercolors. Besides illustrating his books, Archibald Thorburn illustrated numerous sporting and natural history books for other authors. He taught Otto Murray Dixon and Philip Rickman, and he encouraged the young Donald Watson when he came to visit him in Dumfries and Galloway, in southwestern Scotland. Thorburn was friends with other eminent bird illustrators including George Edward Lodge and John Guille Millais with whom he collaborated on many works including Natural History of British Feeding Ducks; British Diving Ducks and British Game Birds.

At the end of the 1890s, he became disillusioned with the Royal Academy and exhibited instead at A. Baird Carter gallery. Thorburn was highly-regarded enough that he had been asked to paint Queen Victoria on three separate occasions but never did.

1902 at the age of forty-two, he married and moved to Hascombe, where he was to spend the rest of his life. In the 1930s he refused to make use of electric lighting, preferring to paint with the natural light of lamps and candles.

Archibald Thorburn regularly visited Scotland to sketch birds in the wild, his favorite place being the Forest of Gaick in Invernesshire. His very detailed and realistic wildlife paintings were widely reproduced, and are enjoyed as much today as they were by sportsmen and bird lovers of a century ago.

Art Movement: Naturalism.
Artists Influencing Archibald Thorburn: Joseph Wolf.
He Traveled To Scotland, Wales.
Painters Archibald Thorburn Influenced: Otto Murray Dixon, Philip Rickman, Donald Watson.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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