James Walker MacBeth

James MacBeth

Born: 1847

Died: 1891

James MacBeth was one of the 6 sons of artist Robert Walker MacBeth of Glasgow Scotland.

A highly acclaimed artistic family, several members of the family exhibited at the Royal Academy and Burlington House in London.

MacBeth arrived in Australia in 1886  “in search of fresh subjects for his brush” (Sydney Morning Herald, 1905) and apparently stayed for a year. Along with his artistic ambition, MacBeth’s travels  also tied him to the British Government as a war correspondent in the turkish/Greek conflict. He was shot during action in Thessaly in 1888. He died several years after returning home, possibly as a result of his wounds. Whilst in Australia he spent time painting Sydney and the environs, to great acclaim.

The Sydney Morning Herald mention his paintings in an article from 1905…..

“A small collection of his Australian paintings is now being shown by Messrs. J. R. Tyrrell and Co. at their Market-street Library. Probably the best example of Macbeth’s manner in water colours is his view from Hyde Park under a beautiful spring sky, with a glimpse of blue water in the distance, and in the foreground great clumps of bamboos, treated with delicacy and a line feeling for characteristic form. The tower o£ St. Mary’s, not then in existence, would have contributed a highly effective architectural “note” to the composition. Visitors will also observe “The Deer Park,”showing the river in National Park as it sweeps round a sandy promontory, the foreground consisting o£ a high bank with a huge moss-grown boulder, the handling of which is exceedingly careful and minute. “Near Port Hacking,” and other drawings possessing abreezy quality, are exhibited, and there is a portrait of the deceased painter from the brush of Nicholas Habbe, which will also repay inspection.”

James MacBeth