The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Nisbet, Hume

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Nisbet, Hume, artist and author, was born on August 8th, 1849, at Stirling, Scotland. As a boy he received special artistic training, and was educated under the Rev. Dr. Culross (now of Bristol College) up to the age of fifteen, when he left Scotland and emigrated to Melbourne, Vict. The next seven years he spent in wandering over the Australian colonies, Tasmania, New Zealand, and the South Sea Islands, painting and sketching and writing poetry and stories, besides making notes for future work. Of this period he spent one year acquiring theatrical experience at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, under the well-known actor Mr. Richard Stewart. He returned to London in 1872, and spent some time in studying and copying pictures in the National Gallery and at South Kensington. At the end of the next year he went back to Scotland, and devoted himself to art, with an occasional lapse into literature. For eight years he was art master of the Watt Institution and School of Art, Edinburgh. He again went to reside in London, and in 1884 revisited Australia, and made his way to New Guinea, where he was the first painter-author to "interview" the Papuans. Most of his pictures have found a location in Scotland, and in 1883 he had an exhibition in Edinburgh of his collected works. He got to loggerheads with the Royal Scottish Academy, whose methods he criticised in numerous pamphlets and articles. During this trying period he owed much to the kindly encouragement of Mr. John Buskin and Sir Noel Paton. Among his best-known paintings are "Eve's first Moonrise," "The Flying Dutchman," "The Dream of Sardanapalus," four pictures of "The Ancient Mariner," and "The Battle of Dunbar." His literary efforts are mainly inspired by his Australian and South Sea experiences. He has published "The Practical in Painting" (Edinburgh, 1880), "Life and Nature Studies" (London, 1887), "The Land of the Hibiscus Blossom" (London, 1888), "Dr. Bernard St. Vincent" (London, 1889), "Eight Bells" (ditto), "Memories of the Months" (ditto), "Ashes" (London, 1890), "Bail Up" (ditto), "My Illustrated Diary of a Voyage from London to Australia" (ditto), "The Black Drop" (London, 1891), "Lessons in Art" (ditto), "The Savage Queen" (ditto), and "A Colonial Tramp" (ditto).