Paintings by



 John Horsburgh 1835-1924


John A Horsburgh b1862


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 RCS Photographers Index, using the entries that appeared in Edinburgh trade directories:

- 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.

The RCS Photographers Index lists John Horsburgh as: "fl. 1863-99".

The paintings listed above on this page all date from the period 1862-1901.
Some (i.e. the earliest) are certainly by John Horsburgh.  He may have painted them all, or perhaps his son painted some of them.



All 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 themselves?

Comments Please

Please e-mail me 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 paintings.

Thank you.

- Peter Stubbs:  December 3, 2007


 List of Paintings by

 John Horsburgh

and other Horsburgh paintings

If you can give me any advice on how to distinguish between the work of John Horsburgh b.1835 and his son, John A Horsburgh, b.1862., please e-mail me.    Thank you.

Here are the Horsburgh 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.


Robert Burns


A large signed portrait in oil of Robert Burns.

Query from: Maynard Klenzing of Portland, Oregon, USA


Sir Walter Scott


A large signed portrait in oil of Sir Walter Scott.

Query from: Maynard Klenzing of Portland, Oregon, USA


Oval Portraits


Two oil paintings.  Both are oval  on cardboard.  The subjects are a man and his wife.  [A. Homoutova].


Painting in a gold frame.


Painting by Horsburgh  -  Which Horsburgh? ©

Inscription on a painting by Horsburgh  -  Which Horsburgh ©



Lady in Black


Oil Painting by Horsburgh of a  Lady in Black ©

Signature  by Horsburgh on an oil painting of a Lady in Black ©





Oil Painting by Horsburgh of a  Gentleman ©    Zoom-in to an Oil Painting of a Gentlemanby John Horsburgh ©

Signature on an oil painting by John Horsburgh  -  Edinburgh 1879 ©



Isabella Grieve Brown


Oil Painting by Horsburgh, Edinburgh, 1879, of Isabella Greive Brown ©

Signature on the back of an Oil Painting by Horsburgh, Edinburgh, 1879, of Isabella Greive Brown ©


Boy holding a Model Yacht


Painting by John Horsburgh  -  A boy holding a model yacht ©

The signature on the bottom corner of a painting by John Horsburgh  -  A boy holding a model yacht ©


Alice Alexander

Painting by J  Horsburgh  -  Alice Alexander, probably 1906r ©

The signature on the bottom-left corner of a painting by J  Horsburgh  -  Alice Alexander, probably 1906 ©


John Charles Pearson, Montreal, Quebec, Canada wrote:

"I 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, portrait,

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.

Peter 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 Smith (Rae).

Painting by J  Horsburgh in 1874  -  William Smith ©    Painting by J  Horsburgh in 1874  -  William Smith ©


Thank you to Marie Burns, London, for allowing me to reproduce this portrait on white opaque glass.

Portrait by John Horsburgh 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 signature from one of these paintings:

Painting by Horsburgh, 1901 -  two of the uncles of the owner of the painting. ©    Painting by Horsburgh, 1901 -  aunt of the owner of the painting. ©

Signature by Horsburgh on a 1901 painting ©


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 signature and read a little more about this painting:

Painting by Horsburgh, 1877, of g.g.g.grandmother of Alaitair Skelton ©

Signature on a Painting by Horsburgh, 1877, of g.g.g.grandmother of Alaitair Skelton ©


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 Horsburgh, Edinburgh.

However, David wrote:

"The 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

Horsburgh painting  -  James Hamilton, 9th Lord Belhaven and Stenton ©

Horsburgh painting  -  James Hamilton, 9th Lord Belhaven and Stenton  -  Signature ©

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 Toronto.

Margaret Urquhart:  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.

Acknowledgement:  Robert Jones:  April 4 + 5, 2010

Painting by Horsburgh of a gentleman with a chain of office and papers - 1891 ©

Signature on a painting by Horsburgh of a gentleman with a chain of office and papers - 1891 ©


Bob Morris wrote:

Two Portraits

"I 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 Remington.

He was born at Hawick, Scotland, Aug 9, 1831, emigrated to Ontario in 1836 and d became a US citizen in 1860."

Edinburgh Studio

"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 Princes Street.

-  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."

London Studio

"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."

Horsburgh Signatures

"I logged on the internet to compare the signatures on my portraits with those of:

-  John Horsburgh (father), 1835-1924, father, and

-  John Alvin Horsburgh (son), 1861

Both the above signed their portraits:


On both of my portraits, the 'H' is convexed out.  The 'N' in Edinburgh swings down below the imaginary line only on the James Paris Lee portrait.

The 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 'J' in his signature."


"There are two questions that I'd like to address:

1.  Who do you believe to be the more talented artist, John Horsburgh or his son, John Albert Horsburgh?

2.  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. London Times?"

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 signed:

'Horsburgh Edin 1875'

Here are photos of the painting, detail from it and the signature:

Framed Oil Painting

Portrait by Horsburgh of an unknown lady with lace collar and brooch ©


Portrait by Horsburgh of an unknown lady with lace collar and brooch  -  collar detail ©


Portrait by Horsburgh of an unknown lady with lace collar and brooch  -  signature ©

Acknowledgement:  Mike Balcom-Vetillo, Earlville Illinois, USA:  March 21, 2011


John Horsburgh
Edith Horsburgh

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.

Dagmawi wrote:

Portrait of John

"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).

I 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?

"The 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 states:

 'Edith 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.' "

Acknowledgement:  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

    Painting by J Horsburgh Senior  -  Captain Bromfield DSO ©


    Painting by J Horsburgh Senior  -  Captain Bromfield DSO - Detail from the painting ©


    Painting by J Horsburgh Senior  -  Captain Bromfield DSO  -  Signature from the painting ©

Acknowledgement:  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 signature 'Horsburgh'

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.

Ruari Halford-MacLeod:  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.

However, Horsburgh images have been arriving faster than I have been able to cope with them recently.

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 individual images.


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 Museum, Hamilton

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 Collinge JP # 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.

Martin Hopkinson 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 Horsburgh FRSSE.

*** This photo is by J Horsburgh Senior.  The signature is difficult to read and the date of the painting is not known.

#   This painting is indeed  by John Horsburgh (1835-1924).  The painting is signed and dated, 1901.

Martin Hopkinson 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.

Malcolm wrote:

Portrait of a Little Girl

"I was particularly interested to read the extensive information about John Horsburgh above.

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.

Portrait of a little girl by John Horsburgh ©

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.

Comments Please

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 recently.

Cheryl wrote:

Two Horsburgh Children

Painting by John Horsburgh (1835-1924), possibly of two of his cchildren, Victor and Agnes Mary
©  Reproduced 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 Family Tree photos.

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



Index to Pages