Barclay – John Maclaren Barclay RSA (1811-86)

From public house to private mansions

Birth to early years

  • John was born in Perth on Thursday 27 February 1811, to David Barclay, hotelier at the Salutation Hotel and Janet McLaren his wife
  • John was baptised plain John Barclay on 10 March 1811 but adopted his mother’s surname as his own middle name later in life
  • John attended Perth Academy where he studied art under David Junor (1773-1835) the Drawing Master
  • John followed in the footsteps of his lifelong friends David Octavius Hill RSA (1802-70) and Thomas Duncan RSA ARA(1807-45) who also studied under Junor at Perth Academy
  • John was apprenticed to a local civil engineer after leaving school

Professional career, husband and father

  • John left Perth to study art at the Trustees Academy in Edinburgh
  • John became a successful artist, married a fellow Scot in London, and returned for a time to Perth
  • John lived most of his later life in Edinburgh where he lost three of his four children to disease in the space of a matter of weeks
  • John’s surviving daughter, Ada Mary Barclay became an artist herself and subsequently travelled to India
  • A history and figurative painter on occasion, John was best known as a portrait painter
  • John exhibited over 100 portraits with commissions coming from all sections of society and from a broad geographical spread that covered most of Scotland
  • Elected an Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1863, John served as a visiting teacher at the Academy School for 12 years and served for 2 years up to his death as Treasurer of the RSA
  • John died in Edinburgh

Works by John in Perth Museum & Art Gallery

(it is not possible to display the entire collections at any one time. To view material not on display please contact the Art Section to make an appointment)

Oil paintings

  • Portrait of Adam Anderson (1780/3-1846) Rector of Perth Academy, Mathematician and Engineer, Professor of Natural Philosophy at St Andrews University, after the original by Thomas Duncan RSA ARA (1807-45), oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Hugh Barclay, Sheriff Substitute for Perthshire, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Mary Barclay (nee Rose) the artist’s wife, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of James Hall Cranstoun (1821-1907), Perth artist, oil on panel
  • Portrait of Edward Strathearn Gordon (1814-79), Baron Gordon of Drumearn, Sheriff of Perthshire, Scottish Judge and Politician, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Robert Keay (senior) (1766-1839), Perth Silversmith, Boxmaster of the Hammermen Incorporation, uncle and business partner of Robert Keay (junior), oil on canvas
  • Portrait of the Hon Arthur Kinnaird (1814-87), MP for Perthshire, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of William McLeish, Town Clerk of Perth, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Thomas Miller, Rector of Perth Academy, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of George Augustus Frederick John Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl (1814-64), oil on canvas
  • Portrait of James Murray Patton of Glenalmond (d.1853), Sheriff Clerk of Perth, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of John Pullar (1803-78), Cloth Dyeing Magnate, Lord Provost of Perth, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Robert Ross of Oakbank (c.1765-1851), Chairman of the Perth Banking Company, Lord Provost of Perth, oil on canvas
  • Portrait of Dr David Scott , Chief Medical Officer for Perth, oil on canvas
  • oil sketch for The Gowrie Conspiracy, oil on board

Prints

  • Portrait of George Augustus Frederick John Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl (1814-64), mezzotint on paper by Edward Burton, published by Alexander Hill (1800-66)
  • Portrait of George Augustus Frederick John Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl (1814-64), mezzotint on paper

Works by John in other public collections

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