Elected ARSA: 10 November 1886
Elected RSA: 13 February 1895
Charles Martin Hardie was a native of East Linton, Haddingtonshire, where he was born in 1858. After receiving his education at one of the village schools he worked for a while at his father’s business, that of a carpenter; but his artistic leanings, strengthened perhaps by a family connection with John Pettie, R.A., led to his entrance as a student at the Trustees Academy in 1876 ?
In the following year he was admitted to the Academy’s Life Class, and from this time onward he made rapid progress. In 1879 the Stuart Prize was awarded to him for a design entitled “The Baron’s Jester,” and in 1880 he won the Keith Prize for the best picture shown by a student in that year’s Exhibition.
For a year or two Mr. Hardie had already been an exhibitor, and the titles of those first efforts show the bent of his talent: one of them, “ Obadiah binds his Princes... Chaplain in Ireton’s Regiment,” recalling the early Cromwellian vein of his relative, Mr. Pettie. The Academy’s Exhibitions during the succeeding fifteen years showed the artist at work, with increasing skill, in various departments of the painter’s craft.
Landscapes and pastorals appear side by side with Interiors and genre subjects in the traditional vein, whilst the influence of contemporary Art movements was shown in not a few pictures of village and agricultural life, in which the figures had been studied in their rustic setting.
Mingled with these, during the eighties and earlier nineties came a series of important works dealing with incidents, real or imaginary, in the lives of personages notable in the national or literary history of Scotland; and such pictures as “ An Unrecorded Coronation—Inch- mahome, 1548,” “Robert Burns reading his Poems to the Duchess of Gordon,” and “The Meeting of Scott and Burns ”—the last two of which were reproduced—brought the artist a wide reputation both at home and in our over-sea dominions, where one of them found a permanent home.
Later Mr. Hardie painted many portraits, and towards the close of the century he was commissioned to paint a curling match played between North and South at Carsbreck, in which portraits of the leading exponents of the game throughout Scotland were introduced. Though he rarely exhibited abroad, one of his pictures, “The Bather,’ shown at the Salon in 1902, was awarded Honourable Mention.
Of recent years Mr. Hardie’s practice, as indicated by such titles as “For the Evening Meal,” “ Harvest Moon” and “The Tender Blossom on the Tree,” showed a return to his earlier landscape and pastoral subjects.
Mr. Hardie was elected Associate in 1886: nine years later he attained Academician rank, and during his thirty years’ association with the Academy he took his full share in the various duties and responsibilities of membership. Especially valuable were his services at the Council Board, where his strong common-sense and ability in clear and relevant statement of his views, greatly aided the conduct of business.
A fine presence, a sociable disposition, and the spirit of comradeship by which Mr. Hardie was specially dis- tinguished, made him universally popular amongst a wide circle of friends, and in the various Art and other Societies with which he was associated. He died somewhat suddenly on 3rd September.
Transcribed from the 1916 RSA Annual Report