Giles, James (DNB00)

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GILES, JAMES (1801–1870), landscape-painter, was born at Glasgow, 4 Jan. 1801. His father, a native of Aberdeenshire, was an artist of some local repute, but his death threw his son at an early age upon his own resources. At thirteen he maintained himself, his mother and sister by painting, and before he was twenty taught private classes in Aberdeen. Shortly afterwards he made a tour through Scotland and visited the continent, and on his return home he was introduced to the Earl of Aberdeen, with whom he became very intimate. His earliest successes were in portrait-painting, but his visit to Italy gave him a taste for classic landscape, which he never entirely lost, for the mist seldom hangs about his mountains, even when the scene is laid near ‘dark Lochnagar.’ He was a keen angler, and fond of painting the result of a successful day's fishing. These pictures were his best works. He first exhibited at the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, but in 1829 he became an academician of the Royal Scottish Academy, and contributed numerous works to its exhibitions from that time until near the close of his career. He also exhibited frequently at the British Institution in London, and occasionally at the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists. His picture of ‘The Weird Wife’ is in the National Gallery of Scotland. His last work was a painting of himself, his wife, and youngest son, which he left unfinished. He died at his residence in Bon Accord Street, Aberdeen, after a lingering illness, 6 Oct. 1870. He was twice married, and by his first wife had a son, who gave great promise as an artist, but died of consumption at the early age of twenty-one.

[Scotsman, 8 Oct. 1870; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School, 1878; Exhibition Catalogues of the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and the Society of British Artists.]

R. E. G.