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Reverend John THOMSON 1778 - 1840

Biography

In addition to his ministerial post at Duddingston near Edinburgh between 1808 and 1840, the Reverend John Thomson was also a distinguished landscape artist. While studying theology in 1793 in Edinburgh, he became acquainted with the artistic circles, including Sir Walter Scott, the writer, and the painter Alexander Nasmyth who gave him art lessons.

After his move to Duddingston, he continued his friendship with important Edinburgh artists. Like Nasmyth, Thomson believed in working directly from nature, and was influenced by the techniques of Claude Lorrain, Nicolas Poussin, Henry Raeburn and J.M.W. Turner. His own works show his clear admiration for Romanticism, with a focus on the emotive properties of landscapes and a freer attitude to brushwork than Neoclassicism, the other prevalent movement in the 19th Century.

Although his career as minister perhaps came first, Thomson was well connected with the arts in Edinburgh, becoming a member of the Association of Artists, as well as receiving an honorary membership to the Royal Scottish Academy.