Elected ARSA: 18 March 1896

Joseph Thorburn Ross, A.R.S.A., youngest son of the late R. T. Ross, R.S.A., was born at Edinburgh in 1854. He was educated at the Scottish Institute and Dr. Graham's private classes. In early life he showed a decided taste for Art, but his father, desirous that his son should first have a trial of commercial life before allowing him finally to adopt Art as a profession, placed him in a merchant's office in Leith, where he was employed for some years.


After spending some time also in business in Gloucester, he returned to Edinburgh in 1876, and with his father's approval entered the Board of Trustees School of Design, where, in 1878, he carried off serval prizes, including a gold medal for drawing.


In 1877 he was admitted as a student to the Life School of the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1879 was awarded part of the Stuart Prize for Composition and Design. He commenced to exhibit in the Royal Scottish Academy in 1872, when he had two works, "Study of a Wild Duck" and "Dead Pigeon"; and thereafter seldom failed to contribute one or more works to the Annual Exhibition.


In 1880 he went to the Continent, which he frequently thereafter visited, and studied in the principal Art centres.


Among his numerous works may be mentioned - 'Hampstead Cross, Gloucester," 1876; "Till Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane," 1880; "A Dutch Labourer's Dwelling," 1884; "A Garland of Poppies," 1889; "Terata Veneziana," 1892; "Head of the Chevalier de la Bastie," 1893; "The Poppy Field," "From a Window in Venice," 1894; "I heard the Cushies croon," 1895;  "The Lost Net," 1896; "Mrs. Patrick Campbell," 1899; "The Beaux of the Hiring Fair," 1900; "Mrs. Monro," 1901 ; "Night at Canty Bay," 1902; "Roses have thorns," "The end of the Day's Firisng," "Shes's owre the border and awa," 1903.


He was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1896. His death took place at his residence in Edinburgh on 28thSeptember.


RSA Obituary by James Guthrie RSA. Transcribed from the 1903 RSA Annual Report