Oil on canvas
61 × 91.4 cm
James William Giles RSA, 1801-1870
Giles was born in Aberdeen and by the age of nineteen had succeeded his father, a textile designer, as a drawing master in that city. After marrying in 1823 he embarked on a period of study, first in London and then in the Paris studio of the Neo-classical painter Jean-Baptiste Regnault. This was followed by an extended tour of Italy, during which Giles executed more than a thousand watercolour sketches as well as copies of the Old Masters. On his return he and the Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson founded the Aberdeen Artists' Society, of which Giles, as the city's leading landscape and portrait painter, was elected president.
As well as painting, Giles was interested in landscape gardening. In 1852 he was invited to submit perspective drawings for Balmoral Castle to Queen Victoria, and subsequently advised on the landscaping of the grounds.