Norman Macbeth RSA 1821-1888
Elected ARSA: 9 November 1870
Elected RSA: 10 February 1880
Norman Macbeth, R.S.A., died on the 27th of February at London, where for nearly two years he had been residing, and the Council having learnt that his remains were to be interred at Glasgow on the 2nd of March, resolved to pay the last tribute of respect to their brother Academician, by attending the funeral in their official capacity.
At a Meeting of Council held shortly thereafter the following Minute was adopted : "The Council regret having to record in their Minutes the death, at London, on the 27th of February, of their esteemed fellow-member, Norman Macbeth, who was a consistent and steady support of the Academy.
In early life he displayed a taste for drawing, and having a special aptitude and ability for portrait painting, he turned his talents almost exclusively to that branch of Art. At a comparatively early period of his professional career he secured an extensive practice, and amongst the numerous portraits which emanated from his easel are included many eminent men, nearly all of which appeared in the Annual Exhibition.
His kindly disposition won for him the esteem and goodwill of his professional brethren. “The Secretary was instructed to transmit a copy of this Minute to his son, Robert Macbeth, A.R.A., and at the same time to convey to him and the other members of the family the expression of the Council’s sympathy with them in their bereavement.
Born in 1821 at Greenock, where his father was connected with the Excise, Norman Macbeth when a boy was apprenticed to an engraver in Glasgow, with whom he served seven years. On the completion of his indenture he proceeded to London, and attended the schools of the Royal Academy, copying at the same time in the National Gallery. Afterwards he visited Paris for a short time, and studied in the Louvre.
Returning to his native town in 1841, he began to practise as a portrait-painter, and rapidly got into notice, which led him in 1848 to remove to Glasgow, and there for a number of years he worked with great success. In 1861 he came to Edinburgh, and met with considerable encouragement, his western connection at the same time being kept up. Ultimately, about two years ago, he moved to London, and during his residence there was appointed by the Academy their Representative Trustee of the British Institution Scholarship Fund. He was elected an Associate in 1870, and an Academician in 1880.
RSA Obituary, transcribed from 1888 RSA Annual Report