Artist: John Faed

Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:
Gatehouse of fleet
Brother of Thomas, James, George and Susan
Residence in Dumfries & Galloway:

Born at Barlay Mill, Gatehouse of Fleet.  Died at Ardmore, Gatehouse of Fleet, which he built in 1867.  Divided his time between Gatehouse and London before settling permanently at Ardmore 1880.


Trustees Academy, Edinburgh, although largely self taught.

Professional Bodies:

ARSA 1847; RSA 1851

Exhibited At:

Royal Academy; Royal Scottish Academy; Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.


Member of the Smashers’ Club.  President of the Kirkcudbright Fine Art Association.  Gave encouragement to Hornel and his colleagues.


The Faeds, Mary McKerrow, Edinburgh, 1982. 


Kirkcudbright: one hundred years of an artists’ colony, Patrick Bourne, Atelier Books, Edinburgh, 2000.


The Gatehouse Years, David I A Steel, 2002.


Five Centuries of Scottish Painting, Atelier Books, Edinburgh, 2006


Tales of the Kirkcudbright Artists, Haig Gordon, Kirkcudbright 2006


Self portrait provided by Stewartry Museum.


Began to paint miniatures at an early age.  Left for Edinburgh in 1840.  Followed his brother Thomas to London but always longed for Gatehouse of Fleet.  Built a house there in 1867 and settled permanently in 1880.  Illustrated The Cottar’s Saturday Night, Tam O’ Shanter and The Soldier’s Return for the Fine Arts Association.  His self portrait, The Little Seamstress and other works are in the Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright.  A Family Meal appears to be one of the works prepared for the Cottar’s Saturday Night.  A small View over Gatehouse of Fleet is illustrated in Bourne p23 (see bibliography).  The Pedlar, signed and dated 1874 sold at Christies, Edinburgh, 26/10/06, Sale 7299, lot 112.  A water colour On the Dee South of Castle Douglas, sold by Lyon and Turnbull, sale 182, lot 31, 12 July 2007.  An oil painting Gatehouse of 1886 was sold for £2400 at Bonhams Scottish sale 29/08/2008, lot 1075.  A fine portrait of the 1850s The Sportsman, was sold at Bonhams, Edinburgh, for £13,800 on 21 April 2011, sale 18818, lot 21.



John Faed, the eldest of the six children of James Faed and Mary McGeoch was born at Barlay Mill, Gatehouse in 1819.  He showed early artistic promise and by the age of nine was painting miniatures of the local dignitaries.  He was encouraged in his work by the family of William Campbell, who had settled in Gatehouse and in whose house he learned to paint miniatures on ivory.  He was also encouraged by Lord Kenmure, who, on a visit to Gatehouse was impressed with the boy’s work and gave him his own box of water colours.

John left Gatehouse for Edinburgh in 1840 to pursue his career and had his first work accepted at the Royal Scottish Academy the following year.  John Faed continued to exhibit at the RSA till 1895.  He became an associate member in 1847 and a full member in 1851.  Following his father’s death in 1842 John encouraged his brother Thomas to come to Edinburgh where he helped to finance his studies.

While Thomas Faed moved to London in 1851, John remained in Edinburgh, where he painted scenes from Scottish history and drew inspiration from the works of Burns, Scott and Shakespeare.  In the mid 1850s he was commissioned to illustrate The Cottar’s Saturday Night, Tam o’ Shanter and the Soldier’s Return.

In 1864 John Faed also went to London but the call of his native Galloway remained strong and in 1867 he bought a plot of land on the outskirts of Gatehouse and built a house there.  After spending the summers in Gatehouse and the winters in London he finally settled permanently in the town in 1880.  As he himself said: “Finding that the class if subjects that I was then engaged with required country models, and Gatehouse could supply them of all ages, in perfection, I finally decided to leave London.”  Among his favourite models was the retired local farmer Sandy Inglis , who can be seen in many of John’s works including The Old Mare Maggie and The Battle of Blenheim.

In his old age in Gatehouse John Faed remained an inspiration for the new generation of Kirkcudbright  artists.  He was President of the Kirkcudbright Fine Art Association, which was set up by Hornel and other young artists returning to Kirkcudbright in 185 after training in Edinburgh and in Antwerp.  Faed encouraged Hornel and advised the young MacGeorge and his colleagues  not to take any notice of the local critics of their work.  In the year 1885 he painted his large View over Gatehouse for the Town Hall, which was opened by his brother Thomas.

John Faed died at Ardmore, Gatehouse on 22 October 1902 at the age of 83.

John Faed was born in 1819 and showed early artistic promise, beginning to paint miniatures of the local dignitaries by the age of nine.  In 1840 he left Gatehouse to further his career in Edinburgh and had his first work accepted by the RSA in 1841.  He continued to exhibit till 1895, becoming an associate Member of the RSA in 1847 and a full Member in 1851.  He is best remembered for his historical paintings and his many works, which draw their inspiration from  Scott, Burns and Shakespeare.

Thomas, born 1825, followed his brother to Edinburgh in 1842, where he studied at the Trustees Academy.  He first exhibited at the RSA in 1844.  Before long Thomas and John were joined by James, born 1821 and George Faed, born 1830, who took up careers as engravers.  George Faed died in 1852.  Thomas moved to London, becoming an associate of the Royal Academy in 1861 and a full Member in 1864.  In that year John also moved to London, but in 1867 he bought a plot of land in Gatehouse and after spending summers there and winters in London, finally settled in Gatehouse in 1880. Thomas Faed’s best known work is The Last of the Clan, which has become an iconic symbol of Highland emigration. Other works recalling the emigration of members of his own family such as Sunday in the Backwoods became popular as engravings on both sides of the Atlantic.

James Faed became a successful engraver, executing over 140 plates for many of the leading artists of the day, but like his brothers he never lost his love of Galloway and continued to paint here and owned a property in Wigtownshire in the 1870s.  Susan Faed, born 1827 also painted and had works exhibited at both the Royal Academy and Royal Scottish Academy.

Thomas Faed died in 1900 and John in 1902.  Susan continued to live in Gatehouse till her death in 1909.  James died in Edinburgh in 1911.  He had a large family , a number of whom followed an artistic career, notably James Faed, junior, who is best remembered for his Gallloway landscapes.