Elected ARSA: 8 November 1854 

Elected RSA: 10 February 1879 

He was born in Leith in 1827, and at an early age manifested a taste for Art. Under Thomas Duncan in the Board’s School of Design he studied assiduously, producing numerous pictures, mainly compositions of landscape and children.


In 1868 he went to America, turning his visit to account by delineating several characteristic phases of negro life. After his return to this country—where his stay was but short—he took a journey to the Continent, which resulted in a residence of some years at Tangier, where he evidently found what was congenial to his taste in subject and material.


A series of Moorish pictures, many of them of importance, emanated from his pencil at this time, and from his final return in 1880 he continued to paint this class of subject. My. Gavin was elected an Associate of the Academy in 1855, and attained the rank of Academician in 1879.


Transcribed from the 1883 RSA Annual Report

Further Images

Robert Gavin RSA (1827-83), The Moorish Maiden's First Love

Oil on canvas, around 1874-78, 92.3 x 65.2cm

RSA Diploma Collection (Deposited,1879) 1995.126