Overview

Elected ARSA: 13 November 1889 

T. Austen Brown, whose father was an artist, was born in Edinburgh on 18th September 1857. After preliminary study, all his Art training was gained in the Academy schools. which he attended from 1878 till 1888, where the visitors, among others, were William MacTaggart and W. E. Lockhart. Fellow students were P. W. Adam, J. H. Lorimer, J. T. Ross, C. M. Hardie, Henry W. Kerr, and Birnie Rhind, by whom he was held in high regard as a companion and as a man of remarkable gifts.

 

He first exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy in 1880, the subject of his picture being “Little Nell” and three landscapes. In 1889 he was elected an Associate along with Mr. E. A. Walton. From the first, Austen Brown was keenly interested in the work of French Artists, and for a considerable period the influence of Bastien Lepage was very evident in his pictures. Experiment was with him a passion ; all through his life new methods were practised with assiduity, every medium tried, no painter of his time was less subject to routine.

 

He found congenial painting ground at Largo, at Blair- gowrie, and near Stirling, but before many years, left Scotland for London, and from 1897 he painted mainly in France, where he purchased a small property in 1907. Mr. Austen Brown travelled extensively, knowing Spain, Morocco, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and Germany, besides spending a year in America.

 

He was cosmopolitan in his interests and cosmopolitan in his reputation, being elected an Associate of La Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Honorary Member of La Société des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, and awarded medals at Budapest, Munich, Dresden, and Barcelona.

 

He is represented by important works in the public galleries of Dresden, Mannheim, Brussels, Liége, Ottawa, Toronto, Wellington, Santiago, and numerous others at home and abroad.

Beside his associateship of the Royal Scottish Academy, he was a member of various art societies in London.

 

After a brief illness Mr. Austen Brown died at Boulogne on June 9, 1924, and is buried in the English cemetery there. His friend Mr. Martin Hardie writes of him thus: “ Living quietly, shunning the mart and the crowd, Austen Brown was one of those who are patient, enduring, and devout in their search for the truth, in their satisfaction with what Art can supply to meet spiritual needs. I should like to say more of the man himself, of his kindli- ness, sympathy and warm humanity; but how inadequate always and how halting are the words with which one tries to express regret, when thoughts lie too deep for tears.”

Transcribed from the 1924 RSA Annual Report

Further Images

Thomas Austen Brown ARSA (1857-1924) Threshing

Oil on canvas, around 1871- 99, 50.5 x 70.8 cm

RSA Thorburn Ross Award (Purchased, 1925) 1992.165