Artist: William Cotton Faed

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Date of Death:
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Son of James Faed
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Son of James Faed, Senior


William Cotton Faed painted and exhibited in Scotland as a young man but he left for Australia, where he married.  He returned to the UK, however, settling in Dulwich before moving permanently to the Channel Islands.

William Cotton Faed’s third son, Frank, inherited the family’s artistic talent and was a talented watercolourist and dry-point etcher but sadly died at the age of 44, struck down by the 1949 polio epidemic.

Image, three generations of the Faed family taken in 1898.  James Faed senior, standing, his son William Cotton Faed, seated and with him his young son Gordon.

Photograph courtesy of the artist’s family.

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.