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Sir Joseph Noel Paton RSA (1821-1901)

Sir Joseph Noel Paton, RSA (1821-1901)

Joseph Noel Paton was the leading Scottish artist of the Victorian period to specialise in imaginative figure subjects, and notably fairies. In producing such masterpieces as
The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania, he capitalised on his mimetic skills in order to represent the supernatural with great conviction.

Joseph Noel Paton was born in Dunfermline, Fife, on 13 December 1821, the second of three children of a damask designer and manufacturer. His father’s interests as an antiquarian and collector provided early inspiration. (The collection, inherited by Paton, is now in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.) From his earliest years, his reading fired his imagination, and he made drawings based on tales of Celtic romance and legend, in addition to episodes from the Bible and ancient history. He developed talents for both literature and art, and would become a poet and critic as well as a painter and sculptor.

On completing his education at Dunfermline School and Dunfermline Art Academy, Paton spent three years in his father’s profession, becoming director of design at Brown, Sharp & Co’s sewn-muslin factory at Paisley, Strathclyde. Then, in 1842, he left Scotland for London where, in the following year, he entered the Royal Academy Schools.

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Shakespeare (1)

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