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Joseph Henderson
Glimmering Light - The West Coast



An undeniably stunning watercolour on board by the Scottish painter Joseph Henderson R.S.W. A Failry large painting signed lower right and inscribed verso. At the age of six he went with his family to Edinburgh, and five years later his father died. As a start in life, at the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to a hosier, but during his apprenticeship he served two masters, and the one to whom he gave real heed was art. Ever since he could hold a pencil he had covered with sketches every scrap of paper he could find, and he now went to the Trustees' Academy and attended the School of Design under Christie and Dallas for one year, and that of Life and the Antique under Ballantyne for three years. His last half dozen lessons in the Life class were taken under Robert Scott Lauder in 1852. Meanwhile the great Exhibition of 1851 took place in Hyde Park, and the Academy offered a number of money prizes to defray the expenses of a trip to see the works of art it contained. Among those who secured the privilege were Orchardson, Aikman, Herdman, and Joseph Henderson. Though he afterwards visited the continental galleries, and carefully studied those of Paris, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam, he always looked back to that first trip to London as the only one of educative influence. In 1852 he began his art career by sending a portrait of himself to the Royal Scottish Academy. When he looked into the exhibition, the story goes, the first thing he saw was his own counterfeit presentment, and at the apparition he straightway turned and fled. Meanwhile he had abandoned hosiery, and in February, 1852, had gone to Glasgow to paint the portraits of a man and his wife. Other commissions followed, and he remained in the city. There was no club, institute, or society of artists in Glasgow at that time, and the solid, commercial citizens looked upon a painter of pictures as something on the social level of the street vendor of boot laces. Whatever change has taken place in that view was largely the result of the work, life, and character of Mr. Henderson. Upon his first essay as a portrait painter he never went back, and from first to last he set on canvas the features of half the magnates of the West of Scotland, many of his works having been public and presentation pictures. One secret of his success in this arena probably was that his portraits were always likenesses. But he was also famous as a painter of sea-scapes and cottage interiors. His "Ballad Singer," exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1866, brought him his first assured success, and from that time his position was never open to question. He was a member of the Glasgow Art Club, the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine arts, and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours. He was an enthusiastic angler and player of golf. Mr. Henderson 1908, and a commemorative exhibition of his works was held in the Glasgow Art Institute in the following November.


  • Movement & Style
    Late Victorian
  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 18 in. x W 24 in.

    H 45.72 cm x W 60.96 cm

  • Gallery location
    Flackwell Heath, GB
  • Reference number
  • Seller reference number

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About the Seller

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1stdibs seller since 2016
Typical response time: 3 hrs
Located in Flackwell Heath, GB
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