John A Horsburgh
The Horsburgh photographic business are listed in the list of Edinburgh
Professional Photographers on this
web site, trading in the name of:
- 1861-1888: John Horsburgh
- 1889-1898: John Horsburgh & Son
- 1899-1915: John Alfred Horsburgh
The following details are taken from the
Photographers Index, using the entries that appeared in Edinburgh
- 1889: John Horsburgh was working from home, 48 St Alban's Road,
as a 'painter and art consultant'.
- 1889: John A Horsburgh was working as 'portrait and miniature
painter' as well as being a photographer.
Photographers Index lists John Horsburgh as: "fl. 1863-99".
The paintings listed above on this page all date from the period
Some (i.e. the earliest) are certainly by John Horsburgh. He may
have painted them all, or perhaps his son painted some of them.
the paintings I have seen have been signed similarly:
Sometimes 'HORSBURGH' is written 'Horsburgh'.
Sometimes 'EDIN' is written 'EDINR' or 'Edin'.
Are there any clues as to which Horsburgh painted which pictures,
either from the style of signature, or from the paintings
if you have any views on whether individual paintings might have been
painted by John Horsburgh or by his son, John A Horsburgh.
I know that several people who
have sent copies of their photos to me would be keen to know this.
They would also be interested to hear opinions on the values of their
- Peter Stubbs:
December 3, 2007
and other Horsburgh
If you can give me any advice on how to distinguish between the work of
John Horsburgh b.1835 and his son, John A
please e-mail me.
paintings that I have been told about, in private collections.
I've now seen just one painting (22 below) that has been signed:
'J Horsburgh Senr, FRSSA, Edinburgh'
I assume that his early pictures would have been signed:
'J Horsburgh, Edinburgh'
and that he would have started adding 'Senr' when his son started to
also produce paintings. Is that right? I've not yet checked to
discover when he became FRSSA.
A large signed portrait in
oil of Robert Burns.
Maynard Klenzing of Portland, Oregon, USA
Sir Walter Scott
A large signed portrait in oil of Sir Walter Scott.
Maynard Klenzing of Portland, Oregon, USA
HORSBURGH, EDIN 1887
Two oil paintings. Both are oval on
cardboard. The subjects are a man and his wife. [A. Homoutova].
Painting in a gold frame.
HORSBURGH, EDIN 1862 (?)
Lady in Black
HORSBURGH, EDIN 1892
HORSBURGH, EDIN 1879
Isabella Grieve Brown
HORSBURGH, EDIN 1879
Boy holding a Model Yacht
HORSBURGH, EDIN 1892
John Charles Pearson,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada wrote:
am currently doing an evaluation of great interest, of two portraits of
the Right Honorable Sir Charles Tupper and his wife, both painted by John
Horsburgh in 1888.
Could you please tell me of any
information with regards to the works and if any member of the family has
retained lists of sketches, log books of sitters (invoicing?) whom I may
contact to further fill my file.
Is there a comprehensive artist’s
biography that I may attach to my evaluation for archival records to be
attached with the two official portraits?"
Joanne Quigley, South Armagh,
Ireland, has sent me an oil painting of a lady, not yet identified.
The painting is signed 'John
Horsburgh Sen, Edinburgh', rather than the more usual signature that I
have seen, presumably used by his son, 'J Horsburgh, Edin. [Year]'.
Ann E Jones, Heriot-Watt University wrote:
"At Heriot-Watt University we hold two
paintings attributed to Horsburgh:
a) J. Horsburgh: Watt Institution and
School of Arts, watercolour HW.WA0211
The image shows the Watt Institution and
School of Arts building in Adam Square, before the building was demolished
in 1871 of the redevelopment of the area to form Chambers Street.
Signed Horsburgh Edin 1871
b) J. Horsburgh: Thomas Murray,
Dr Thomas Murray, (1792-1872), political
economist, served as Secretary of the Edinburgh School of Arts and the
Watt Institution and School of Arts from 1844-1866.
I assume that both images are by John Horsburgh the
photographer and painter (1835-1924) rather than the engraver (b.1819).
Would you be in a position to confirm this?"
Ann E Jones, Riccarton, Edinburgh: August 9, 2007
Ann added that Heriot Watt
University also holds an
album of 22 photographs by John Horsburgh
Ann: It seems likely to
me that both your paintings will by John Horsburgh (1835-1924).
However, for a more informed
opinion from the National Galleries of Scotland or the Edinburgh City Art
Centre. I believe that they both hold paintings by members of the
Horsburgh family in their collections.
Stubbs: August 9, 2007
Thank you to Clive Press for
allowing me to reproduce paintings by John Horsburgh of his g g
grandparents, William Cobb Smith of Benholm Castle and his wife Jessie
Thank you to Marie Burns,
London, for allowing me to reproduce this portrait on white opaque glass.
Thank you to 'Mrs MA' for
telling me about paintings by Horsburgh, one of her two uncles and the
other of her aunt. She asks if there is any way of telling which
Horsburgh painted them.
Here are the paintings of the
two uncles and
the aunt, together
with an enlargement of the Horsburgh
from one of these paintings:
Alistair Skelton, Auckland,
New Zealand, tells me that he has inherited a Horsburgh painting of his
g.g.g.grandmother, Isabella Douglas, wife of Robert Storey.
Alistair adds that the
painting is dated 1877, and is presumably by Horsburgh senior.
Please click on the images
below to enlarge the painting and the
and read a little more about this painting:
David Waters, Jersey, Channel
Islands has sent me a photograph of an oil painting of his great great
grandfather, James Hamilton, 9th Lord Belhaven & Stenton 1822-1893.
David tells me that the
subject appears to be in his 50s, so that would make the painting about
1875-ish. It is signed
However, David wrote:
interesting thing is that the signature looks like the ones on your site
but on the back of the picture there is a piece of paper “ Horsburgh,
Victor D Exh.1901-1935 Edinburgh 1901; Toronto, Canada 1935. RSA 5”.
I am not sure what that means!
David Waters: Jersey,
Channel Islands: October 4+7, 2009
I've done some restoration to
this painting in areas where there was some flare. So the image will
differ a little from the original. Also, I believe that the painting
has been cropped a little, particularly at the bottom.
Thank you to Margaret Urquhart
for giving me more information about Victor D Horsburgh.
Margaret told me:
"This was Victor Daniel Horsburgh
(b.1866, d.1947). He was the fifth
child of John Horsburgh (b.1835).
Victor was an architect in Edinburgh for some years, then emigrated to
Canada. He was appointed architect to the Dominion Realty Company in
telephone call, March 10, 2011
Thank you to Robert Jones for
allowing me to reproduce this painting which has come into his family's
possession. Robert tells me that the the painting painting is approx
4ft x 3ft.. It is in fair condition but may need cleaning.
The gentleman is wearing a Chain of Office and holding papers. Robert asks who
the man might be, and what might be the approx value of the painting.
Robert Jones: April 4 + 5, 2010
Bob Morris wrote:
have two oil portraits, each 53" x63", painted by John
Horsburgh in 1889. They are of:
Caroline Chrysler Lee of the Chrysler auto family.
James Paris Lee, watchmaker and jeweller, well known for his firearm
inventions including the Lee Medford and Lee Enfield rifles. He was
also co-inventor of the first successful commercial typewriter, the
was born at Hawick, Scotland, Aug 9, 1831, emigrated to Ontario in 1836
and d became a US citizen in 1860."
"John Horsburgh (father) had studios in Edinburgh
from 1861. In 1881, from his studio was at 131 Princes Street, he
was producing portraits in oils and other art works. Apparently, his
son, John A Horsburgh was Apprentice Artist in his father's studio.
In October 1889:
- the name of his firm was changed to become a
partnership, Horsburgh & Son.
- the son got married, and was
left responsible for the day to day management of the studio at 131
- the father re-located his place of
business to his home at 48 St Alban's Road, Edinburgh, working there as
art consultant and painter. He retired in 1898."
"I had originally assumed that these 1889 portraits
would have been painted at John Horsburgh's studio in Edinburgh, because
James Paris Lee had been born in Scotland, and may have returned there.
However, I recently learnt that John Horsburgh had a studio at the Dublin
Hotel, London in 1901. I now ask myself if John Horsburgh (father),
said to be retired by then, might have returned to work at his son's
London studio to create more portraits."
logged on the internet to compare the signatures on my portraits with
John Horsburgh (father), 1835-1924, father, and
John Alvin Horsburgh (son), 1861
Both the above signed their portraits:
'HORSBURGH, EDIN -
both of my portraits, the
is convexed out. The
in Edinburgh swings down below the imaginary line only on the James Paris
more I try to differentiate between the Horsburgh signatures, the more
confused I become.
Some signatures are in print, others are in cursive. None that I
have seen includes the first name, John. However, it appears that
John A Horsburgh was using the cursive letter
in his signature."
"There are two questions that I'd like to address:
Who do you believe to be the more talented artist, John Horsburgh or his
son, John Albert Horsburgh?
Caroline Chrysler Lee died in London in 1888. Is there anywhere on
line, where I could locate her obituary in a British newspapers e.g.
Bob Morris, McLean, Virginia, USA:
January 6, 2011
Framed Oil Painting
Thank you to Mike
Balcom-Vetillo, Earlville Illinois, for letting me see an image of one of
his Horsburgh oil paintings. It is of an unknown lady, wearing a
lace collar and brooch.
The painting is 19.5 inches x 24 inches and is framed. It is
'Horsburgh Edin 1875'
Here are photos of the painting, detail from it and the signature:
Framed Oil Painting
Mike Balcom-Vetillo, Earlville Illinois, USA: March 21, 2011
Thank you to Dagmawi Abebe for
allowing me to reproduce this photo of a painting titled 'Portrait of
John' by E Horsburgh.
Portrait of John
Dagmawi acquired this painting
recently, and is trying to discover more about the artist and the subject.
"The piece is titled "Portrait of John" and is signed "E Horsburgh 54".
Additionally the sticker on the back states "Edith M Horsburgh, Portrait
of John, 823 N? Campus Ave, Ontario, CA
John Horsburgh (photographer) had a daughter Edith M who had an older
brother named John (John Jr).
read, somewhere on the internet, that this Edith passed away in 1934, so
it would be kind of an issue if she was painting portraits in 1954."
Which John Horsburgh?
EdinPhoto site also mentions a family of engravers named Horsburgh from
Scotland, but the site doesn't have much biographical info on them."
Which Edith Horsburgh?
"Currently there's another Edith Horsburgh listed for sale. The sale
M Horsburgh was painting in the late-19th century. Her home town was
Aberdour in Fife. We also believe she may have been the
granddaughter of John Horsburgh the famous Scottish engraver.' "
Dagmawi Abebe, Los Angeles, California, USA
March 23+28 +April 8, 2011
Captain Bromfield DSO
Thank you to Jeff Lock,
Greenwich, London, for allowing me to reproduce this painting by John
Horsburgh, Senior, and for telling me more about the painting.
Please click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge the picture and read
more about it.
Captain Bromfield DSO
Jeff Lock, Greenwich, London, England: July 29, 2011.
Sir John Chatham MacLeod
Thank you to Ruari
Halford-MacLeod for sending me a photograph of a portrait of Sir John
Chatham MacLeod, held by the Black Watch Museum in Perth, bearing the
Ruari also mentioned that:
- The plaque on the portrait states:
'1888 Painted by J Horsburgh FRSE Edinr.'
- The museum also has a photograph of Sir John. This may
also be by Horsburgh
- He believes that the Museum has another Horsburgh portrait.
August 10, 2011
Originally I added all the
images of Horsburgh paintings that I was sent to the EdinPhoto web site, provided I
could get permission to add them.
Horsburgh images have been arriving faster than I have been able to cope with them
I feel that I probably already have a reasonable selection
of Horsburgh paintings on the EdinPhoto web site so I don't plan to add
any more unless I feel that there is particular merit in adding any
More John Horsburgh Portraits
Thank you to Martin Hopkinson for
emailing me to tell me that:
1. These prints are all possibly by John Horsburgh, photographer. They
have been wrongly attributed to John Horsburgh, engraver
(1791-1869) in Christopher Wright's 2006 book on
British paintings in public collections:
- Sir John Watson of Earnock - Low Parks
- George Bogie, Provost of
Kinross * Perth
Museum & Art Gallery
- Portrait of a Gentleman ** Perth Museum
& Art Gallery
- Arthur Clarke, Mayor of Wycombe
*** Wycombe Museum
- Alderman William
# Towneley Hall Art
Gallery & Museum
2. There is a portrait of John Hutton Balfour in the Scottish
National Portrait Gallery. It has been wrongly attributed to John
Horsburgh, engraver (1791-1869).
3. There is a portrait of John Cunningham
(1819-1893) by John Horsburgh in the University of St Andrews.
He was principal of St Mary's College.
Whitechapel, London, England:, Former
Curator of Prints
Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow:
Sep 4+5, 2011 (4 emails)
Thank you to Martin Hopkinson for
letting me know that the galleries have confirmed:
* This photo is dated 1895
and is attributed to 'Horsburgh' (no initials). It is probably by
the later Horsburgh.
** This photo is signed and dated, J
*** This photo is by J Horsburgh Senior.
The signature is difficult to read and the date of the painting is not
This painting is
indeed by John Horsburgh (1835-1924).
The painting is signed and dated, 1901.
Whitechapel, London, England: September 6+7, 2011
Thank you to Malcolm W Ewen
for telling me about his recent acquisition of a Horsburgh painting.
I had not intended to add more
paintings by Horsburgh to the EdinPhoto web site, but found Malcolm's
comments and the images that he sent to be particularly interesting, so
I've now added two of them to the site. Please click on the
thumbnail images below to see them.
Portrait of a Little Girl
was particularly interested to read the extensive information about John
My wife and I went to an auction recently which was held in Holland House
on Papa Westray. There, we purchased, by way of a silent auction, a
painting, believed to be by John Horsburgh, 1835-1924.
We bought the painting, which cost us £35, because we liked it, and also
because it appeared to be an original work of art.
Notes on the Back of the Photo
The painting is on cardboard and, interestingly, there is writing on the
back of the picture which may be notes made by the artist to himself.
The sitter is unidentified, although my thought is, she may be a member of
the wealthy Orkney landowning Traill family who owned Holland House where
the picture was found.
The painting itself is approx. 12 ins x 10 ins, and it sits in an oval
frame measuring 20 ins by 18 ins.
I'd very much welcome any comments on this charming picture.
Malcolm W Ewen,
North Queensferry, Fife: September 9, 2011
Thank you to Cheryl Manier for
telling me about this painting by John Horsburgh that she purchased
Two Horsburgh Children
with acknowledgement to Cheryl Manier, USA
"I'm doing research on a painting by John
Horsburgh (1835-1924) which I purchased this year.
I believe the two children in the painting
might be two of Horsburgh's children, Victor and Agnes Mary. The children
look remarkably like Victor and Agnes Mary in the
I also wonder about the photograph or small
painting that the children are holding in the painting. In some
ways, it looks like, perhaps, a photograph of the view out of the window
in the painting.
Do you know of any of John Horsburgh's
ancestors who might still be alive, who could comment on this -
possibly Margaret Urquhart?
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Cheryl Manier, USA:
6 December 2013