Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Lockhart, William Ewart

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LOCKHART, WILLIAM EWART (1846–1900), subject and portrait painter, was born on 18 Feb. 1846 at Eglesfield, Annan, Dumfriesshire. His father, a small farmer, managed to send him, at the age of fifteen, to study art in Edinburgh, where he worked with Mr. J. B. Macdonald, R.S.A., and for a short time in the life school; but in 1863 his health gave way, and he was sent to Australia. Returning greatly benefited by the voyage, he settled in Edinburgh, and, in 1867, paid the first of several visits to Spain, where he found material for some of his finest works. In 1871 he was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1878 became academician, while he was also an associate (1878) of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-colours, and for some years a member of the Royal Scottish Water-colour Society. He had occupied a prominent position as a painter of subject pictures and portraits in Scotland for many years; but when in 1887 he was commissioned by the queen to paint 'The Jubilee Celebration in Westminster' he went to London, where he afterwards devoted himself principally to portraiture.

His pictures in both oil and water-colour are marked by considerable bravura of execution and much brilliance of colour, but are rather wanting in refinement and subtlety. They are always effective and telling, however, and the 'Jubilee' picture, to which he devoted three years, is one of the ablest works of its kind. On the whole, Spanish and Majorca pictures, such as 'The Cid and the Five Moorish Kings,' 'A Church Lottery in Spain,' 'The Orange Harvest, Majorca,' and 'The Swine-herd' are his best and most characteristic works; of his portraits, those of Lord Peel (bronze medal at the Salon), Mr. A. J. Balfour, and Mr. John Polson may be mentioned. He also painted landscape in water-colour with much success. His portrait of Mr. Balfour is in the Glasgow Corporation Galleries; his 'Swineherd' in the Dundee Gallery; and his diploma a study for 'The Cid' in Edinburgh, while the French government bought the sketch for 'The Jubilee.' The Kepplestone Collection, Aberdeen Art Gallery, includes an autograph portrait of Lockhart.

He married Mary Will, niece of his master, Mr. J. B. Macdonald, on 7 Feb. 1868, and, dying in London on 9 Feb. 1900, after several years of rather indifferent health, was survived by her and five children one son and four daughters.

[Private information from Mrs. Lockhart and Mr. J. B. Macdonald, U.S.A.; The Scotsman, 12 Feb. 1900; Athenæum. 17 Feb. 1900; Scots Pictorial (by John MacWhirter, R.A.), March 1900; R.S.A. Report, 1900; catalogues of galleries and exhibitions.]

J. L. C.