Elected ARSA: 10 November 1847

Elected RSA: 12 February 1851

John Faed, R.S.A., was born in 1820 at Barlay Mill, Gatehouse-of-Fleet, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, where his father was an engineer and millwright. He early evinced a taste for Art, and having seen some miniature portraits on ivory, resolved on being a miniature painter; and while yet a boy soon got into notice and practice in his native county.


He came to Edinburgh in 1840, studied for a short time in the Board’s School of Design under Sir William Allan, and established himself as a miniature painter in Edinburgh with great success. On his invitation his younger brother, the late Thomas Faed, R.A., came to be his pupil in Edinburgh.


He exhibited for the first time in the Royal Scottish Academy in 1841, “Portrait of a Gentleman,” and “Frame containing four Miniature Portraits.” From that time onwards his contributions in miniatures to the Annual Exhibition were very numerous. In 1844 he commenced to exhibit oil pictures as well as miniatures, and found subjects in Shakespeare, Scott, Burns, and in cottage domestic life. In 1864 he removed to London, where he remained till 1880, when he finally settled at Gatehouse.


 Among his works in oil are:—“Scene from the Twelfth Night— Olivia and Viola,” 1852; “Reason and Faith,” 1855; “The Raid of Ruthven” and “The Household Gods in Danger,”1856 ;“The Cruel Sister,” 1857; “Reading the list of the killed and wounded” and “Preparing the Kail,” 1858; “The Royal Scottish Justiciary—Incident in the time of James I. of Scotland,’ 1859; “Boaz and Ruth,” 1860; “Annie's Tryste,” his diploma work, 1864; “A Wapping-shaw,” 1867; “The Old Brocade,” 1873; “John Anderson my Jo,” 1874; “Old Mortality,” 1877; ‘Goldsmith in his Study,” 1880; “The Poet’s Dream,” 1883.

He was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1847, and attained the rank of Academician in 1857. His death took place at his residence at Gate-house-of-Fleet on 22nd October.


RSA Obituary by James Guthrie, transcribed from 1902 RSA Annual Report

Further Images

John Faed RSA (1819-1902), The Poet’s Dream

oil on canvas, around 1883

Gifted by John Faed, 1902. 2006.034