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Frazer, William Miller

William Miller Frazer (1864-1961)  was born in Scone, son of bailie John Frazer of Perth.  He was educated at Sharp’s Institute and Perth Academy (where he met his lifelong friend and patron Thomas R Dewar, the whisky magnate). He went to Edinburgh in 1883 to study at the Board of Manufactures School before being admitted three years later to the Royal Scottish Academy Life School. His home remained in Edinburgh until his death, aged 97, in 1961.

In 1890, Frazer travelled extensively on the Continent, studying in Paris and making sketching tours in Norway, Holland, Italy and Algeria. He was a founder member of the Society of Scottish Artists in 1891 – the year that he married - and served as its president in 1908.

Frazer painted landscapes, occasionally in watercolour but mainly in oil. He tried to capture the atmosphere, nature, time of day and season in his paintings and was particularly drawn to the English Fens, Norfolk Broads, Argyllshire and his native Perthshire. He visited Arran and painted mainly in the north and west coasts. His style is evocative of the French painter Corot.

During a long artistic career he showed more than 125 works at the Glasgow Institute, 182 at the Royal Scottish Academy, 3 at the Royal Academy and others at prestigious galleries and institutions all over the UK. Frazer was unique in that, having shown at the Royal Scottish Academy for the first time in 1884, he went on to see his works hung there for the next 73 consecutive years – a remarkable record that remains unsurpassed.

Frazer was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1909, becoming a full Academician in 1924.

The first of seven limited edition malt whiskies from Arran Distillery (2016) – the Arran Scottish Painters Collection - labelled in conjunction with the Glasgow School of Art, featured one of Frazer’s paintings of the view down to Lochranza.


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