Thursday Talks – Thursday 03 October, 6pm: Arthur Melville (1855 – 1904)

Thursday Talks

Thursday 03 October, 6pm for 6.30pm

‘The most brilliantly audacious water-colour painter of his time’: Arthur Melville (1855-1904)


Non-members please book via eventbrite

Arthur Melville (1855-1904) was one of the most innovative Scottish painters of his generation. The intensity of his colours, his fascination with effects of brilliant light and his dramatic compositions had a revolutionary impact on watercolour as an art form.

Melville was born at Loanhead-of-Guthrie in Angus, and raised in East Linton near Edinburgh. He spent much of his life travelling around the world, including time spent in France, Spain, Egypt, Morocco, and the Middle East. His travels inspired spectacular watercolours and paintings. When not travelling, Melville was based mainly in Edinburgh.

He enjoyed a varied career as an artist and is respected as an Orientalist, a fore-runner and close associate of the Glasgow Boys and a painter of modern life. Melville’s life was sadly cut short due to his premature death aged just forty-nine from typhoid he contracted in Spain.


Speaker Biography

Charlotte Topsfield is Senior Curator of British Drawings and Prints at the Scottish National Gallery and has a particular interest in watercolours and Scottish drawings. She is co-author with Kenneth McConkey of a monograph on the artist Arthur Melville.




Image Credit: Arthur Melville, Baghdad, 1883, courtesy of The National Galleries Scotland (

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