Alexander George Fraser

(7 April 1786 - 15 February 1865)



Scottish painter, was bom at Edinburgh in 1786, and commenced his artistic career by studying at the Trustees' Academy in that city, where he had David Wilkie and Watson Gordon for fellow-students. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1810, settling in London three years later. Soon after this Wilkie employed him to fill in the minor details and still-life of his pictures, a practice which he continued for a good many years. Among the works exhibited by him at the Royal Academy may be mentioned, 'The Village Sign-Painter,' The Blackbird and his Tutor,' and 'Tapping the Ale-barrel.' He does not appear to have exhibited after 1859, and during the latter years of his life seems to have been quite an invalid. His death occurred at Wood Green, near London, in 1865. A great part of his earlier works consisted of coast scenes, and at a later date he painted pictures in illustration of the 'Waverley Novels,' some of which have been engraved. He became an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1842. In the National Gallery is the 'Interior of a Highland Cottage.'

Bryan's dictionary of painters and engravers, 1903

Fraser, Alexander. (Brit.) Born in Scotland (1786-1865). He exhibited for many years at the Royal Academy pictures relating to Scottish character and history. Among his works maybe mentioned, 'The Glass of Ale,' 'Alarms of War,' 'Robinson Crusoe,' 'Last Moments of Mary Queen of Scots,' etc., some of which have been engraved. His 'Interior of a Highland Cottage' (belonging to the Vernon Collection) is in the National Gallery.

Artists of the Nineteenth Century & Biographical Sketches. By Clara Erskine Clement & Laurence Hutton, 1879.

Alexander George Fraser (1786-1865) was a Scottish genre and domestic painter who exhibited his paintings at the Royal Academy in London for many years. His son, Alexander Fraser (1827-1899), was also a prominent artist with whom he is sometimes confused (and his paintings are sometimes misidentified as being by his son).

Fraser was born in Edinburgh on 7th April 1786. His father was Alexander Fraser, a grocer, and his mother, Madgalane Davie. He studied painting under John Graham (1754-1817) at the Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh. His fellow pupils included William Allan (1782–1850), John Burnet (1784–1868), and David Wilkie (1785–1841). He began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1810 and moved to London in 1813. David Wilkie had preceded him to London and he employed Fraser as an assistant to paint details and still life in his pictures. Of Wilkie's many followers, Fraser was the most capable. Many of his paintings were humorous and on a small scale, for example, 'The Scotch Fair' (c. 1834) or 'Music Makers'.

On 30th June 1826, he married Janet William Moir in Edinburgh, and Alexander Fraser was their son. In 1840, Fraser was elected an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, an institution he had helped to found. In 1842, his 'Naaman Cured of the Leprosy' obtained the premium at the British Institution for best picture of the year. From 1848, ill-health prevented him from painting and he ceased exhibiting at the Royal Academy. He died at Wood Green, Hornsey, London on 15 February 1865.

Born - 7 April 1786, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Died - 15 February 1865 (aged 78), Wood Green, Hornsey, London
Spouse - Janet William Moir
Nationality - Scottish
Field - Genre and Domestic Painting
Training - Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh
Elected - Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy

Notable paintings:
Playing at Draughts (1809)
A Green Stall (1810)
The New Coat (1812)
Preparing for Fish Market (1812)
A Highland Sportsman (1832)
The Scotch Fair (c. 1834) The background of the painting consists of a collation of features to be found in St Andrews, St Monans and Culross.
Naaman Cured of the Leprosy (1842)
Music Makers
The Goose Girl (Sheffield Museums Collection)
Smoking the Cobbler (Glasgow Museums Collection - Pollok House)
Opening Oysters (McManus Art Galleries, Dundee)
Robinson Crusoe Explaining the Scriptures to Friday (Liverpool Collection - Walker Art Gallery)

[Entry for 'Alexander George Fraser' in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison), Reproduced with kind permission of the McManus Art Gallery, Dundee; en.Wikipedia.

View painter's art: Alexander George Fraser, Snr. (1786-1865)

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