Robert Gemmell Hutchison 1855-1936

Robert Gemmell Hutchison was a British landscape painter, specialising in coastal scenes, who belongs to the school of British Impressionism.


Hutchison was born in Edinburgh on 1 July, the first son of George Hutchison, a brass-founder, and his wife Margaret née Forman. After first training as a seal engraver, he was encouraged to pursue oil painting and trained under James Campbell Noble at the Trustees Academy on Picardy Place. He then started his studio at 1 India Buildings (at the top of Victoria Street) in 1878 and was found early success, exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1879 and the Royal Academy in 1881. Hutchison quickly moved from painting empty seascapes, largely of the Fife coast, to genre paintings, usually of young children beside the sea. There are similarities between his work and some of the Glasgow School, particularly in his use of broad brushstrokes, impasto and soft muted colours.


Hutchison was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1903 and a full member in 1911. He was also elected to the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour. Hutchison's first solo exhibition in London was in December 1928 at Barbizon House, where 34 of his works were displayed. He was a successful painter and many works were bought by public collections.


In later life, he lived at 14 Craighall Terrace in Musselburgh, east of Edinburgh. He returned to Edinburgh in 1912, living at 8 St Bernards Crescent in the Stockbridge area. In the 1930s he spent time with his daughter at her home in Coldingham, painting at St. Abbs.


He died at his daughter’s house on 22 August 1936. He is buried in Dean Cemetery on one of the curving paths to the south-west. A portrait of Hutchison was sculpted by John Stevenson Rhind and included in his memorial stone.


Bibliography: Grant M. Waters 'Dictionary of British Artists Working 1900-1950'