Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paton, Waller Hugh

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PATON, WALLER HUGH (1828–1895), Scottish landscape-painter, son of Joseph Neil Paton and Catherine MacDiarmid, was born in Wooers-Alley, Dunfermline, on 27 July 1828. In early years he assisted his father, who was a damask-designer in that town, but in 1848 he became interested in landscape-painting, and received lessons in water-colour from John Houston, R.S.A. In that year he exhibited his first picture, 'The Antique Room, Wooers-Alley, by Fire-light,' which was hung in the Glasgow exhibition. Three years later his 'Glen Massen' was accepted by the Royal Scottish Academy, of which corporation he was elected an associate in 1857, and a member in 1865. He contributed to the academy's exhibitions every year from 1851 till his death. In 1858 he joined his brother, now Sir Noël, in preparing illustrations for Aytoun's 'Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers,' published in 1863. From 1859 onwards he resided in Edinburgh, but in 1860 he stayed some time in London, making water-colour facsimiles of Turner's works at South Kensington, and in 1861 and 1868 he was on the continent with his brother and Mr. (now Sir) Donald Mackenzie Wallace. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, in 1862, and in that year he received a commission from her majesty to make a drawing of Holyrood Palace. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1869), an honorary member of the Liverpool Society of Water-colour Painters (1872), and a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Water-colour Painters (1878). During the last ten years of his life he was in bad health, and on 8 March 1895 he succumbed to an attack of pleurisy, at his house, 14 George Square, Edinburgh. He was buried in the Grange cemetery there.

In 1862 he married Margaret, eldest daughter of A. J. Kinloch of Park and Maryculter, Aberdeenshire, and had by her four sons and three daughters.

Paton was the first Scottish artist who painted a picture throughout in the open air. It was his custom to make water-colour sketches of his pictures; these are preserved in four albums, in which he inserted notes. He found most of his subjects in the hill scenery of Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, and, in especial, Arran. The rich purple of the northern sunset was his prevailing colour effect; and he was pre-Raphaelite in his careful reproduction of natural detail, first seen most emphatically in 'The Raven's Hollow, or Slochd-a-Chrommain.' His diploma picture, 'Lamlash Bay,' hangs in the National Gallery, Edinburgh. It has been often copied.

[Scotsman and Glasgow Herald, 9 March 1895; Catalogues and Reports of the Royal Scottish Academy and other exhibiting societies referred to above; information kindly supplied by Paton's brother, Sir Noël Paton, R.S.A.]

G. G. S.