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Mr Edward Atkinson Hornel

Early Life and Education: Edward Atkinson Hornel was born on July 11, 1864, in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia. He was the son of a Scotsman, David Hornel, and his Australian wife, Elizabeth Atkinson. In 1866, the family returned to Scotland, settling in Kirkcudbright, a town that would greatly influence Hornel's artistic style and subject matter.

Hornel showed an early aptitude for art, and he attended the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh from 1883 to 1885, where he studied under E.A. Walton and William McTaggart, both influential Scottish painters of the time. His education laid a strong foundation for his future artistic endeavors.

Artistic Career: Hornel's career as an artist flourished during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was deeply inspired by the landscapes, people, and culture of Scotland, particularly the Galloway region where he lived. His paintings often depicted scenes of rural life, lush landscapes, and intimate portraits of local residents.

In 1887, Hornel became a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW), marking a significant milestone in his professional career. Throughout his life, he exhibited extensively, showcasing his work in prestigious galleries and exhibitions both in Scotland and internationally.

Collaboration with George Henry: One of the notable partnerships in Hornel's career was his collaboration with fellow artist George Henry. Together, they formed what became known as the "Glasgow Boys," a collective of artists who rebelled against the traditional academic style prevalent in Scotland at the time. Hornel and Henry, along with their contemporaries, sought to capture the essence of Scottish life and landscape in a more naturalistic and impressionistic manner.

Exploration of Japan: In 1893, Hornel embarked on a journey to Japan, a trip that would greatly influence his artistic style. He was fascinated by Japanese art and culture, particularly the use of vibrant colors and intricate designs. During his time in Japan, Hornel immersed himself in the study of Japanese woodblock prints and traditional painting techniques, incorporating elements of Japanese art into his own work upon his return to Scotland.

Legacy and Influence: Edward Atkinson Hornel's contributions to Scottish art are significant and enduring. His paintings continue to be celebrated for their vibrant colors, meticulous attention to detail, and evocative portrayal of Scottish life and landscape. He played a pivotal role in the development of the Scottish art scene, both as an individual artist and as part of the broader Glasgow Boys movement.

Hornel's legacy lives on through his extensive body of work, which is housed in collections around the world, including the National Galleries of Scotland, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. His influence can be seen in subsequent generations of Scottish artists who have been inspired by his innovative approach to painting.


  1. Lavery, S. (2016). "Hornel, Edward Atkinson (1864–1933), painter." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  2. McEwan, P. J. M. (1994). "Edward Atkinson Hornel, 1864–1933: a life in pictures." Atelier Books.
  3. Strang, A. (2010). "Scottish Art 1460-1990." Mainstream Publishing.
  4. Wilcox, S. (2019). "Edward Atkinson Hornel (1864–1933): Bringing Japan to the Scottish Colourist Palette." Japan Society Proceedings, 163(1), 45-59.

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