John Henry Lorimer was born in Edinburgh on 12th August 1856 and trained at the Royal Scottish Academy under William McTaggart and George Chalmers, exhibiting his first oil painting when he was just 17. He spent his summers in Fife and winters in Edinburgh but also frequently visited Paris, where he spent several months training with the painter Carolus-Duran.
November 2021 will see first retrospective of his artwork at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh in an exhibition entitled Reflections: The Light and Life of John Henry Lorimer that is set to run to 20th March 2022. The exhibition will explore Lorimer’s art through five key themes: light; identity; family; femininity and home.
The artist’s great-great niece and co-curator Charlotte Lorimer said, “I came up with the structure of the exhibition long before the pandemic began but as the virus spread and the world changed, my faith in these themes became even stronger. For a lot of people, light or nature, family or friends, and home or safety are the foundation for happiness and healing. Identity is something that is always in flux and fascinating to explore, while so-called ‘feminine’ elements of identity – kindness, compassion, humility – are key to building a more empathetic, stronger society.”
Works that will appear in the exhibition include a portrait of Scottish feminist campaigner Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair, The Eleventh Hour, for which Lorimer received a gold medal at the Paris Salon, and Grandmother’s Birthday, the first painting by a Scottish artist bought by the French Government, currently held in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The exhibition will also contain family letters and furniture, such as the chair designed by the painter’s brother Sir Robert Lorimer that features in Grandmother’s Birthday.
Co-curator David Patterson says, “Here at the City Art Centre, we are really excited to be hosting the first ever major exhibition devoted to the work of John Henry Lorimer. His work, which is so often overlooked in favour of his more radical contemporaries, is technically brilliant and his elegant interiors and light-filled landscapes will uplift everyone’s spirits during the winter months.”
To bring his work together from galleries and houses across Europe for the exhibition, that is being jointly organised with The Hew Lorimer Trust, co-curators David Patterson and Charlotte Lorimer are launching a crowdfunding campaign.
Donations to the crowdfunder can be made via the website reflections.enthuse/donate where thank you gifts will be available to some donors.