James Cowie

Scottish (1886 - 1956)
James Cowie A Portrait Group 1933 / about 1940 © Ruth Christie, the artist's daughter


Born 1886
Died 1956
Nationality Scottish

Born in Aberdeenshire, Cowie studied at Glasgow School of Art. He taught at Bellshill Academy, near Glasgow and later became Warden at Hospitalfield House, an art school near Arbroath. His style of painting was precise and linear. Cowie was an admirer of Poussin and the pre-raphaelite painters and believed in the classical values of self-restraint and objectivity. He had a meticulous way of working and believed that art was a product of thought and reason.

Glossary terms

  • Used generally for art that attempts to represent things as they appear. It specifically refers to a mid-19th century movement in France, led by Gustave Courbet, that rejected the sometimes obscure subject matter of academic painting in favour of more accessible scenes of everyday life.


Figurative Art in Scotland and England 1918-1945
Modern One
Exhibition finished
True to Life | British Realist Painting in the 1920s and 1930s
  • 1 July 2017 to 29 October 2017
  • £10
Modern Two