Henry Wright Kerr RSA, RSW (1857-1936)

Painter in oil and watercolour of portraits and figurative subjects. One of the most prolific Scottish artists, a fine recorder of Scottish character and the Scottish scene and a painter of considerable imagination and sympathy. Best known for his portraits of elderly, characterful gentlemen and for his book illustrations.

Henry Wright Kerr was born in Edinburgh and after being apprenticed to a manufacturer in Dundee returned to his native city, taking an office job in Leith whilst studying at the Life School at the Royal Scottish Academy. In1882 his first watercolour landscape was exhibited at the RSA. He also visited the Netherlands where he came under the influence of the Hague School. At first Kerr was known for his genre scenes of Scottish and Irish characters in the manner of Wilkie, but after 1900 he turned increasingly to portraiture.

Elected RSW 1891, ARSA 1893, RSA 1909.

Exhibited RA (8), RSA (159), RSW (70), GI (26), AAS, RI (1) & L (12).

Books Illustrated:

Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character (1909) – Dean Ramsay
Annal’s of the Parish (1911) – John Galt
Lighter Side of Irish Life (1911) – George A Birmingham
The Last of the Lairds (1926) – John Galt

Collections:

National Gallery of Scotland
Scottish National Portrait Gallery (26)
Dundee AG
Glasgow AG
Kirkcaldy AG
City of Edinburgh Collection

Biography - Dictionary of Scottish Art & Architecture - Peter J M McEwan