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John Lawson (born 1838)


John Lawson (born 1838)

Though he worked variously as a painter, sculptor and stained glass designer, John Lawson is best remembered as an illustrator of books and periodicals. His early, predominantly black and white, images mark him out as one of that striking generation of the ‘Illustrators of the Sixties’, and relate to those by his fellow Scotsman, Joseph Noel Paton, who is likely to have been a close friend. However, his later colour plates reveal his ability to adapt to a new market for popular children’s books and annuals, and so work alongside his eldest daughter, Lizzie Mack.

John Lawson was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the youngest of the ten children of Robert Lawson, a linen weaver, and his wife Ann (née Kirk). He was baptised on 10 June 1838. By 1850, the family was living at 9 Appin Terrace.

Nothing is known of Lawson’s education, and he is first appears as an artist when he begins to exhibit works at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1857.

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