About this artwork

Pringle trained as an optician in 1874 and ran his own business as optician and electrician from 1896 to 1923. He used his shop as a studio after hours painting predominantly small canvases, like this painting. From around 1895 he developed an interest in French Impressionism, which influenced this work. This is one of three portraits Pringle made of an elderly man who frequented the Saltmarket area of Glasgow and visited the artist in his shop. The sitter was nicknamed ‘Kruger’ due to his supposed likeness to Paul Kruger, the Boer resistance leader and president of the Transvaal republic in South Africa. The painting is thought to date from 1904 – it is signed and dated but Pringle’s style makes it difficult to read.

John Quinton Pringle

John Quinton Pringle

Pringle was born in the East End of Glasgow. He left school at the age of twelve and was apprenticed to an optician, establishing his own shop in Glasgow in 1896. Although he worked full-time until 1923, Pringle took evening classes at Glasgow School of Art from 1885. He seldom exhibited and painted comparatively few works, most of which are small in scale. Pringle's characteristic style was to paint with small, square brushstrokes. His subjects were from his home or nearby, such as family, friends and the back court of his tenement building.