Detail of an oil painting showing a woman and young girl in skirts and shawls in a snowy street. Detail of Street Scene 2 by Alexander Gibson (1880-1968)

Painting Kilsyth: Alexander Gibson

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Alexander Roy Gibson was born in Kilsyth in 1880, the son of a master grocer. It is believed he had a brother, John, who died of enteric (typhoid) fever in 1899, and another, Gabriel, who died of “phthisis” (pulmonary tuberculosis) in 1913. Gibson married Eunice Kennedy in Kirkintilloch on 26th January 1910. The couple had two children, William and Alexander.

Gibson described himself as an artist at the time of his marriage. He used a photographic studio belonging to his brother James (believed to have been killed during the First World War) to sell his oil paintings, etchings and watercolours. He turned from amateur to professional after being injured while serving with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) in France during the First World War.

Gibson flourished as an artist between 1912 and 1957. He exhibited his work in Liverpool as well as the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA), Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts (RGI) and Aberdeen Artists’ Society.

Gibson painted mainly topographical scenes, usually rural, depicting many local landmarks in and around Kilsyth. He also painted scenes from across Scotland, including Fife and Ayrshire. He is said to have been particularly inspired by summer visits to Castle Douglas and Kirkcudbright in the Scottish Borders.

Gibson died in the Kilsyth Victoria Cottage Hospital on 13th January 1968, aged 88. Many of his artworks are now exhibited in Colzium House, Kilsyth.

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