Bough, Samuel (DNB00)


BOUGH, SAMUEL (1822–1878), landscape painter, third child of a shoemaker, originally from Somersetshire, was born at Carlisle on 8 Jan. 1822, and when a boy assisted at his father's craft. Later he was for a short time engaged in the office of the town clerk of Carlisle; but, while still young, abandoned the prospects of a law career, and wandered about the country, making sketches in water colour, and associating with gipsies. In the course of his wanderings he visited London several times; first in 1838, when he made some copies in the National Gallery. He was never at any school of art. In 1845 he obtained employment as a scene-painter at Manchester, and was thence taken by the manager, Glover, to Glasgow, where he married Isabella Taylor, a singer at the theatre.

His abilities were recognised by Sir D. Macnee, P.R.S.A., who persuaded him to give up his work at the theatre for landscape painting. He began in 1849 a more earnest study of nature, working at Hamilton, in the neighbouring Cadzow Forest, and at Port Glasgow, where he painted his 'Shipbuilding at Dumbarton.' Among his principal works may be mentioned: 'Canty Bay,' 'The Rocket Cart,' 'St. Monan's,' 'London from Shooter's Hill,' 'Kirkwall,' 'Borrowdale' (engraved in 'Art Journal,' 1871), 'March of the Avenging Army,' 'Bannockburn and the Carse of Stirling,' 'Guildford Bridge.' He supplied landscape illustrations for books published by Messrs. Blackie & Co. and by other publishers; produced a few etchings of no great merit; painted several panoramas; and never entirely gave up the practice of scene-painting.

In 1856 he became an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy, and on 10 Feb. 1875 a full member. For the last twenty years of his life his abode was fixed at Edinburgh, where he died 19 Nov. 1878.

Although Bough at times painted in oil, the majority of his works, and among them his best, are in water colour. His style was much influenced by his practice as a scene-painter, and is characterised by great breadth, freedom, and boldness of execution, with power over atmospheric effects, but with at times some deficiency in the quality of colour. A thorough Bohemian, he concealed under a rough exterior, and an abrupt and sometimes sarcastic manner, a warm heart and a mind cultivated by loving knowledge of some branches of older English literature. He was a great amateur of music, a fair violinist, and the possessor of a fine bass voice. A collection of his works was exhibited at the Glasgow Institute in 1880, and another at Edinburgh in 1884.

[Edinburgh Courant, November 1878; Scotsman, November 1878; Mr. R. L. Stevenson in Academy, 30 Nov. 1878; Academy, 5 July 1884; Art Journal, January 1879.]

W. H-h.