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Knox, John

John Knox 1778 – 1845


John Knox was born in Paisley, the son of a yarn merchant. He moved to Glasgow in 1799, where he is recorded first as a portrait painter, in 1809, and later as landscape painter, in 1821.

His early career as a landscape painter was spent at his studio in Glasgow, where he also taught. Although it is not certain that John Knox was a pupil of Alexander Nasmyth (1758-1840), he is considered Nasmyth's closest successor in terms both of rural and urban imagery. Among Knox’s pupils were Daniel Macnee, Horatio McCulloch and William Leighton Leitch and all became friends in the early 1820s. Many of Knox's pupils showed their work alongside their master in the Glasgow art exhibitions of 1821 and 1822, all exhibiting from Knox's address at 40 Dunlop Street.


Knox travelled widely on the west coast of Scotland, publishing a volume of lithographs entitled Scottish Scenery drawn upon Stone by John Knox in 1823. As well as fairly conventional views of the Clyde valley and other picturesque sites, composed in the classical tradition, he produced some highly unusual and dramatic panoramas, taken from unusual viewpoints, such as the top of a mountain. He belonged to a generation who revelled in the depiction of mountain scenery (he was three years younger than J. M. W. Turner). Knox painted some fine panoramic views; his subjects included Lochs Lomond and Katrine and the west coast of Scotland.


He lived in London between 1828 and 1836, exhibiting works at the Royal Academy and British Institution. He returned to Glasgow in 1836, but moved to Keswick in 1840, where he spent the rest of his life.


He produced many fine views of Scotland and the Lake District following the contemporary vogue for depictions of wild and awe-inspiring scenery. His panoramic landscapes are among the most compelling visual testaments of the revival of interest in the landscape of Scotland in the early 19th century, a revival that owed much to Sir Walter Scott's poetry. He was an important influence in the development of art in Glasgow, both as a teacher and as a painter.


References


National Galleries Scotland

The Fine Art Society Ltd

Christie’s | 2

The Glasgow Story