A villa at Taormina

A villa at Taormina



Taormina, Sicily
signed MacW
pencil, watercolour and bodycolour
14 x 19 in. (36. x 50.2 cm.)
The Scottish National Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1908

John Hutchison, R.S.A.

John MacWhirter (1839-1911) was apprenticed originally by his parents to the Edinburgh booksellers, Oliver and Boyd. The engagement did not prove a success and, in 1851 he enrolled at the Trustees Academy where he was instructed by Robert Scott Lauder and John Ballantyne. He displayed an early talent for sketching and painting en plein air and first exhibited, when only fourteen, at the Royal Scottish Academy. He moved to London in 1867, settled in St. Johns Wood and secured election as a Royal Academician in 1893.
He travelled abroad, with numerous visits to the Continent and took especial pleasure in recording views of the Alps and the Italian countryside whilst happy to travel further afield to Turkey and the United States. MacWhirter flirted with Pre- Raphaelite approach before adopting a freer, if equally observant, colourful style by which he depicted landscapes from the Scottish Highlands to Sicily and beyond.