John Guthrie Spence Smith
Oil on canvas
87.6 × 100.3 cm
Signed bottom right
John Guthrie Spence Smith, 1880-1951
Known to his artist friends as "Dummy Smith" because he was struck deaf and dumb after a serious illness in infancy, Spence Smith was born in Perth. He studied at Edinburgh School of Art and at the Royal Scottish Academy's Life Class, where Robert Burns and Charles Hodge Mackie were important influences. D.M. Sutherland was a fellow student. Both exhibited at the Edinburgh Group's early exhibitions in 1912 and 1913 and at the re-formed group's three exhibitions in 1919-21. Spence Smith exhibited regularly throughout his career at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts. He painted mostly landscapes and townscapes. Apart from two visits with his mother in 1911 and 1912 to northern France, based in Étaples, then a favourite painting ground of the Colourists, he spent all his life in Scotland.