Artist: William Mouncey

Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Place of Death:
Residence in Dumfries & Galloway:

9 High Street, Kirkcudbright; Woodlea, Tongland Road, Kirkcudbright. Exhibited from High Street 1881, 1884 and Kirkcudbright, 1885 and 1886 and from 1894 to 1897, from Woodlea, 1898 and 1901.

Exhibited At:

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


E A Hornel


Members of the Kirkcudbright School


William Mouncey, artist, Malcolm McLachlan Harper, The Gallovidian, Volume VI, No 23, 1904. Kirkcudbright: one hundred years of an artists’ colony, Patrick Bourne, Atelier Books, Edinburgh, 2000.

Tales of the kirkcudbright Artists,Haig Gordon, Kirkcudbright, 2006

The Paintings of William Mouncey of Kirkcudbright, Percy Bate, The Studio,Vol.45, No. 188,1908

Image of the artist, Gallovidian,1904


Followed his father in his business of house painter and decorator. Abandoned work as a house painter to paint full time 1886. A landscape painter he found inspiration from the rich and varied scenery around his home. Married one of E A Hornel’s sisters. Latterly fell out with Hornel, who had earlier helped and advised him. W S McGeorge’s portrait of Mouncey is at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (PG 1386). His Children and Goats in a Galloway Wood is illustrated in Bourne p54 and his Distant View of Kirkcudbright p56 (see bibliography). His Autumn Trees is in Perth Museum and Art Gallery. His By the Wayside is in Paisley Museum and Art Galleries. Exhibited at the first exhibition of the Kirkcudbrightshire Fine Art Association, 1886 (exhibition catalogue Stewartry Museum file) Exhibited at James Connell and sons, 31 Renfield St Glasgow. Kirkcudbright Harbour exhibited at Harbour Gallery, Kirkcudbright jubilee exhibition, 1982.

A painting Near Tongland was sold in Bonhams’ Scottish sale, 2007. Sale 15120 lot 1340

William Mouncey was born in Kirkcudbright in 1852.  His father, a native of the town, was a house painter and decorator but also had an interest in art.  William followed his father into the family business.  His aim, however, was always to become a professional artist and was said to have devoted his spare time to drawing and sketching.

Apart from a short period of study in Edinburgh, Mouncey was self taught and he spent most of his life in and around Kirkcudbright drawing his inspiration from the Barhill and the Buckland Burn, from Senwick Wood on the Borgue shore and the banks of the Dee at Tongland, the scenes which fill his canvases.

It was in 1881 that Mouncey had his first work accepted by the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and exhibited there and at the Royal Glasgow Institute for the rest of his life.  His works were also shown in London and in Dresden.  However, it was not till 1886 that he was able to turn professional.

In his early career he was helped and advised by E A Hornel and in 1874 he married Hornel’s eldest sister Margaret.  However, he was later to fall out with Hornel.

Mouncey’s success as an artist allowed him to build his own house and studio, Woodlea, overlooking Kirkcudbright.  Like other Kirkcudbright artists, Mouncey played his part on the civic life of the town.  As a young man he had been a member of the Kirkcudbright Company of the Galloway Rifles and from 1888 till his death he was a member of Kirkcudbright Town Council.

In 1896 Mouncey went on a sketching holiday to Bedfordshire with his friend Malcolm Harper and also visited London where he spent time in the National Gallery studying the works of Constable and Hobbema.  During this time he also painted the Thames from Vauxhall Bridge.

In the last years of his life his work was exhibited at James Connell and Sons’ Gallery in Glasgow and this helped to bring his work to the attention of a wider public.

William Mouncey’s life was cut short by peritonitis and he died in 1901 at the age of just 49.  His work appears regularly at sales of Scottish Art and the artistic tradition lives on in the Mouncey family.