A wonderful and vibrant still life of three salmon beside a fish creel, oil on board, signed lower right.
J B Russell. Cleaned and varnished. In a burr maple veneered frame with gold slip. Early to mid 20th century.
Sight: 10.5" x 18.75" (27cm x 47.5cm)
Frame: 15.5" x 23.75" ( 39cm x 60cm)
James Russell 1867-1956, and painted under the name ‘J B Russell’. He was born in Edinburgh and following the death of his mother from smallpox, his father, John Bucknell Russell, took the family to an island in the Forth to escape the plague.
It was around this time that his father was commissioned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon to go to Fochabers, Morayshire, in the North of Scotland, to carve and paint every salmon over the weight of forty pounds caught in the River Spey.
James followed in his father’s footsteps as an artist and became practiced in the elaborate task of painting scales onto carved fish. However his main interests throughout his life were fishing and poaching and he always remained ‘a bit of a lad’. He would poach almost every night for rabbits and fished all around his local areas, never gaining permission or a licence to do so.
After his father’s death he moved with his family to Glasgow at the turn of the 20th century, and later to Roxburghshire in 1918, where he continued to paint fish discarding his skill of carving and moved around the countryside painting in both oils and watercolours. He painted until the end of his life and his grandson recalls how the house “was full of the smells of oil paints and gigantic pictures of fish on flat canvasses were all around.”
With thanks to an on-line piece written by his grandson, Dr James Russell, Edinburgh, Scotland