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John FAED 1818 - 1902

ARSA 1847, RSA 1851, HRSA 1896

Biography

Born Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire. John began to paint miniatures and soon made a name for himself in Galloway. He moved to Edinburgh around 1841, and attended some classes at the Trustees’ Academy. Faed disliked the limitations of miniature painting and was able to broaden his horizons in Edinburgh, painting historical and literary subjects and illustrating some of Burns’ characteristic stories. A visit to the Middle East in 1857 resulted in Biblical and Eastern subjects, painted on a large scale. In 1864 he moved to London, following the success of his brother Thomas Faed. Settling in St Johns Wood, he spent half of each year in Gatehouse where he built a house in 1869.

In London, Faed painted large historical canvases, sometimes borrowing costumes from Madame Tussaud’s waxworks. As an artist, however, he was more successful in his smaller genre compositions and his illustrations. His more ambitious historical canvases reveal a weakness in composition and drawing. In 1880, Faed returned to Gatehouse to live and one of his best works was a large-scale landscaped of the local countryside seen through a trompe-l’oeil stone archway flanked by two spear-bearing warriors, painted for the Town Hall of Gatehouse in 1885 – it can still be seen at the Mill on the Fleet building. He died at his house in Gatehouse of Fleet aged 84.