John Quinton Pringle

Portrait of the Artist’s Elder Brother - Christopher Nisbet Pringle


Not on display

John Quinton Pringle 1864–1925
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 457 × 305 mm
Presented by Mrs Mary Richmond Blackwood and Miss Jeanie Nisbet Pringle, the daughters of the sitter 1977

Catalogue entry


Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 18 × 12 (45.7 × 30.5)
Presented by Mrs Mary Richmond Blackwood and Miss Jeanie Nisbet Pringle, daughters of the sitter 1977
Prov: Donald Smart Pringle; his heirs; Mrs Mary Richmond Blackwood and Miss Jeanie Nisbet Pringle
Exh: Pictures by John Quinton Pringle, Saltire Club, Glasgow, January–February 1946 (21); John Q. Pringle 1864–1924, A Centenary Exhibition, Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, Summer 1964 (55); John Quinton Pringle 1864–1925, City of Edinburgh Art Centre, October 1973 (no catalogue)

The artist John Quinton Pringle was the second of eight children born of James Christie Pringle and his wife Jane Bowie (née Davidson), who married on 6 June 1862. The other seven children and dates of birth were Christopher Nisbet 1863 (the subject of T02258) who died in 1931, James Christie 1867, Donald Smart 1869, Barclay 1871, Mary Smart 1873, Robert Christie 1875 and Archibald Donald, 1878 (who died at the age of six in 1884).

While living at home, Pringle used his brothers, sister and father as models for drawing and painting in watercolours and oils in the late 1880s and early 1890s. What are believed to be portraits of his father, sister and all his brothers except Christopher and Archibald are in the collection of Glasgow Art Gallery (see catalogue of the 1964 Centenary exhibition Nos.5, 15, 22, 34, 38, 43, 52, 58 and 73).

This painting is the only known portrait of Christopher Pringle. A few years after it was painted J.Q. Pringle superimposed over it another canvas upon which he painted what was almost certainly a view from a window in the house in London Road, Glasgow, in which the Pringle family lived for some years from 1894. The presence of the two canvases nailed to the one stretcher was discovered by H.Jefferson Barnes, later Director of the Glasgow School of Art, during the preparation of the Pringle exhibition at the Saltire Club, Glasgow, in 1946. The later painting was removed from the stretcher and remounted; it is now in a Glasgow private collection.

The background of T02258, which may represent a curtain, is similar to that in what is almost certainly a self-portrait by Pringle of circa 1886 (coll: Glasgow Art Gallery, repr. in catalogue of the 1964 Glasgow Art Gallery Pringle exhibition (24)). Stylistically, the Tate picture has much in common with the watercolour ‘Bob’ (exh: Glasgow 1964 (74) repr.), signed and dated 1891. The peculiar shape of the ear in the present portrait also occurred in several members of the Pringle family.

The compiler is grateful for James Meldrum of Glasgow who supplied much of the information for this catalogue entry.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1976-8: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1979

You might like

In the shop