Artist: Alick Riddell Sturrock

Date of Birth:
1885
Date of Death:
1953
Place of Death:
St Abbs
Residence in Dumfries & Galloway:

Visited Gatehouse of Fleet from early 1920s. First stayed at Rutherford Cottage, Gatehouse-of-Fleet. Lived at Victoria Cottage, Boatgreen, Gatehouse of Fleet 1926-1934.

Education:

Mound School of Art, Edinburgh; Royal Scottish Academy life class; Edinburgh College of Art

Professional Bodies:

ARSA, 1929; RSA,1937; Treasurer RSA 1938-1947, Secretrary 1953

Exhibited At:

Royal Academy; Royal Scottish Academy; Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours; Aberdeen Artists’ Society; Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts; Liverpool

Bibliography:

The Dictionary of Scottish Painters, Paul Harris and Julian Halsby, Canongate; Kirkcudbright: one hundred years of an artists’ colony, Patrick Bourne, Atelier Books, Edinburgh, 2000. Gatehouse Days: remembering A R Sturrock RSA, David I A Steel, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dumfries, 2003. A R Sturrock RSA, Bourne Fine Art (exhibition catalogue, 1983) (in Stewartry Museum file). No 18, Barholm Farm, Galloway.

Image of the artist, Stewartry Museum

Notes:

Mainly landscape painter. Exhibited with Eric Robertson, W O Hutchison and others in 1912 and 1913, and again after First World War as part of Edinburgh Group. Treasurer of Royal Scottish Academy,1938-1947; appointed secretary shortly before his death. Anwoth Woods, Galloway is illustrated in Harris and Halsby p216 (see bibliography). Bridge over the Fleet illustrated in Bourne, p88; Group of Trees, Little Boreland, p89 (see bibliography). Married Mary Newbery, daughter of Fra Newbery, 1918


Alexander Riddell Sturrock, always known as Alick, was born in Edinburgh on 10 June 1885, the youngest of four children of Katherine and Alexander Sturrock.  He attended George Watson College, leaving school in 1902 at the age of 17 to take an apprenticeship with a firm of lithographers.  However, he soon began to study art, taking night classes at the School of Art at the Mound and later joining the Life Class.

In 1909 he had his first work accepted for exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy and in 1911 became a member of The Society of Scottish Artists.  In 1912 and 1913 he was one of a group of young artists, who exhibited together in Edinburgh and in 1914 he won a travelling scholarship to the continent.

At the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Scots, rising to the rank of captain and was seriously wounded at Arras in 1917.  He later became involved in camouflage work.  On 21 October 1918, he married Mary, younger daughter of Frank Newbery, former Head of the Glasgow School of Art.

The War over, Alick and six of the pre-war artists, who had exhibited together, along with Dorothy Johnstone and Mary Newbery formed themselves into the Edinburgh Group, holding exhibitions in the capital for three consecutive years.  The woodlands, fields and farmhouses of lowland Scotland, the Lake District and Dorset were among the principal subjects of Alick’s canvases.

In 1926 Alick and Mary Sturrock moved to Gatehouse of Fleet, where they lived till 1934, Alick doing some of his best work in this period.  In 1929 he became an Associate Member of the Royal Scottish Academy.

During their time in the town the Sturrocks played a full part in the life of the community.  It was also during their stay in Gatehouse that Dorothy Sayers wrote “The Five Red Herrings”, the murder story based on the Gatehouse and Kirkcudbright artists of the time.

Alick Sturrock was elected a full member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1937 and from 1938 to 1947 he was the Academy’s treasurer.  During the Second World War he was the driving force behind the major project to decorate the great naval canteen at Rosyth, providing much needed work for several Scottish artists.  He took an active part in the Society of Scottish Artists and from 1946 to 1948 was President of the Scottish Arts Club.   In the winter of 1952 Alick Sturrock became acting secretary of the RSA and in March of the following year he was elected Secretary but sadly he died two months later on holiday at St Abbs.