Elected ARSA : 18 March 1964

Elected RSA: 9 February 1972

David Michie OBE RSA was born at Saint-Raphaël in the south of France. His father, James Michie, was an architect and painter who had been an apprentice to Edwin Lutyens at the War Graves Commission, helping to lay out cemeteries in northern France after the First World War. His mother was the celebrated artist Anne Redpath OBE RSA.


David’s early years were spent living in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat where his father was private architect to American tycoon Charles Thompson. Later, the vibrant colour schemes of the Côte d’Azur would infuse his work. In 1934, David returned to Scotland with his family and settled in the Scottish Borders where David attended school in Hawick.


In 1946, he enrolled at the Edinburgh College of Art but his time there was interrupted in 1947 with the introduction of National Service. He completed his service in the Signal Corps, qualifying as an instructor with the Royal Artillery Signals in 1949 and returned to Edinburgh College of Art where he was taught by William Gillies RSA.


In 1953 he received a travelling scholarship to Italy, accompanied by his friend, the painter John Houston. They toured the Renaissance sites of Tuscany, and stayed in the hilltop towns of Anticoli Corrado and Orvieto in Umbria. John Houston RSA and his wife Elizabeth Blackadder RSA were to remain life-long friends.

Colour was central to David’s painting. Working in both oils and watercolour, David’s subjects ranged from nature, garden compositions and his observance of people going about their everyday activities. His work was regularly inspired by his travels to far-flung places such as Australia, the USA and across Europe and is very effectively seen in his RSA Diploma painting On the Ramblas (1976) which invokes a colourful and busy Barcelona street scene.


David taught widely, lecturing at James Clarke’s School in Edinburgh and Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. He was a visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Belgrade and the University of California. He returned to Edinburgh College of Art to teach painting during the 1960s and 1970s, and was Vice Principal there from 1974-77.


Between 1982 and 1990 he was Head of the School of Drawing and Painting. In 2009, he received an Honorary Fellowship from the College “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the life of the college and the education of its students”.


David was a prominent member of the Royal Scottish Academy, a former President of the Society of Scottish Artists and a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Contemporary Scotland. He served on a number of professional panels including those of the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Education Trust.


His works are included in many significant collections such as Aberdeen Art Gallery, Glasgow Museums, the National Galleries of Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Museums and the Tate.

David was elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1964 and Royal Scottish Academician in 1972. He was appointed OBE in 1997.


RSA Obituary, transcribed from the 2016 RSA Annual Exhibition Catalogue


Further Images

David Alan Redpath Michie OBE RSA RGI FRSA (Scot) (1928-2015) On the Ramblas

oil on canvas, 1976, 101.5 x 126.4cm 

RSA Diploma Collection, (Deposited 1977) 1994.175