John Robertson REID

John Robertson REID

John Robertson Reid was born in Edinburgh and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy under Chalmers and McTaggart. He painted mainly landscapes and coastal scenes, living first in Sussex and later in Cornwall, working regularly around Polperro.

He was listed in 1891 as living in Newlyn (with his sister Flora MacDonald REID), and was a presence in St Ives during the 1901-10 period, probably as a member of STIAC (Whybrow). He was also closely associated with Polperro for several decades but, whilst he exhibited paintings of Polperro subjects for over twenty years, he only used a Polperro exhibiting address, 'Osprey Cottage' from 1904-1906.

In 1918 he produced a large, dramatic work entitled 'Capturing a German Mine off the Cornish Coast' which contains certain recognisable features of Polperro.

In 1920 the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists held an exhibition in Winnipeg, USA, containing work by, among others, John Robertson Reid.

His final years were spent in London, where his work was frequently exhibited.  Wood comments that he contibuted notably to the development of the Glasgow School.


Painter of genre, landscapes and coastal scenes

works and access

Works include: County Cricket Match; Fishing Off the English Coast; Pilchard Fishers, Cornwall;

The Arrest of the Smuggler in West Looe, 1820 oil on canvas [in the Looe Guildhall Collection]

Polperro 1902 oil on canvas [in the Royal Cornwall Museum Collection, Truro]

The Fishermen's Return; Sea Urchins


Whitechapel 1902;  RA; N; IPO; L; M; B; GI





Hardie (2009) Artists/Newlyn & West Cornwall

The Modernist Journals Project,

Newton et al Painting at the Edge

Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly

Whitechapel Exhibition catalogue (see repr in Hardie 2009)

Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volumes One & Two, Wilson Books

C Wood Victorian Painters

The Year's Art;