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Home  >  Famous Aberdonians  >  Biography Of John Phillip

Biography Of John Phillip

Scottish Painter




John Phillip was born on the 10th April 1817. He lived at 13 Skene Square, Aberdeen. His father was a shoe maker. He married the sister of fellow painter Richard Dadd in the 1840s. Their son was Colin Bent Phillip who became a watercolourist and landscape painter.


John Phillip studied under painter Thomas Musgrove Joy and then went on to study at the Royal Academy Schools.


He went on to become a successful genre and portrait painter. He was held in high esteem by Queen Victoria who considered him to be Britain's greatest portrait painter and entrusted him to paint the Royal Family portraits.




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His most famous works and paintings include Presbyterian Catechising which is on show at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Spanish John


John Phillip travelled to Spain to study their art culture over several years from 1851 to 1860. He created paintings such as Spanish Gipsy Mother which is held at the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace in London. He earned the nickname Spanish John and Spain proved to be a rich source of inspiration for Phillip and even now he is remembered for his colourful depictions of exotic senoritas, posed on balconies with their fans, gypsy musicians, and colourful street scenes.


In 1957 John Phillip became an Associate of the Royal Academy. In 1960 he became a full member.


John Phillip died on the 27th February 1867 at Kensington in London.


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