John Horsburgh Watercolour, Dated 1894


Ref: 32920
For more information please submit a product enquiry or call 0131 553 7286.


A dated water colour by ‘John Horsburgh’ (1835-1924). This particular watercolour is dated 1894, the subject is a small boy holding a doll, sitting in a chair with bedspread, with garden flowers in the background. The water colour is in excellent condition and is contained in a gilt slip, glazed in a modern pierced and gilded frame.

78cm High, 63cm Wide



John Horsburgh (1835-1924) was born in Eddleston, Peeblesshire, the son of a shoemaker. He was apprenticed to a silk mercer in Edinburgh in his youth, but his interest soon turned to photography. By 1863 he had set up his studio in Edinburgh in South Bridge, which moved briefly to 17 Princes Street and finally to 131 Princes Street by 1868. By the 1871 Census, he was living at 13 Abbortsford Park Edinburgh and he was employing 3 photographers and 3 artists, presumably to colour in the photographs, which was often done in those times. In the 1881 Census he was a man of 46, listed as an Artist and Photographer and living at 10 Strathearn Road. Between 1889 and 1898, his business changed to John Horsburgh & Son (This son being John Alfred Horsburgh, born 1862, who also painted). In 1891 he was living at ‘Albania’, 48 St. Albans, Edinburgh, where he was working from home as an Art Consultant and Painter. After 1898, when John Senior retired from the photography business, the business became John A. Horsburgh until 1915 at 4 West Maitland Street. By the 1901 Census, he was listed as a Retired Artist and Portraitist at Aberdour House, Aberdour, Fife. (This house was used by Admiral Beatty of Jutland fame during WWI) However, he was still offering his services as a portraitist in the 1920s, according to his letter head, where he offered ‘portraiture without tedious life sittings’ at The Langham Hotel in London, in private residences, chambers and clubs, and in Corstorphine in Edinburgh. Possibly he based his portraits on photographs to avoid the sittings. At some stage, he was apparently elected a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, as some of his paintings show FRSSA after the signature. John Horsburgh died at the end of September 1924, as his obituary appeared in The Scotsman on 1st October 1924. He had 10 children by his wife Agnes, nee McIntosh, who he married in 1856, 8 of whom survived him.


  • 78cm High, 63cm Wide