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James Coutts Michie

Monday, 26th September, 2011

“Home from the Hills”, oil on canvas, by James Coutts Michie (1859-1919) “Home from the Hills”, oil on canvas, by James Coutts Michie (1859-1919)

The 13th in the series of articles by Catherine Farry, education officer at the Regional Art Gallery, about the artists who painted the pictures in the city’s collection

James Coutts Michie was born in Marywell, near Aboyne, in Scotland in 1859. He studied painting under Joseph Farquharson in Edinburgh and later with Carolus Duran in Paris. 

Mitchie travelled throughout Continental Europe and North Africa where he lived for several year before settling in England in 1893. He specialised in portraits and landscapes and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy. 

He received a medal from the Paris Salon and acted on the Executive Committee for the Franco-British Exhibition in 1907 and for the Rome Exhibition in 1911.

Mitchie became an art advisor to Syndicate of Seven member George McCulloch and they became friends. 

McCulloch had returned to Britain on making his fortune in Broken Hill and made the founding art contributions to the city’s collection.

Between 1893 and his death in 1907, McCulloch became an internationally known art collector and was a patron of the artist John Singer Sargent. 

At the time of his death he reportedly owned the finest collection of paintings by modern British artists in the world; McCulloch would only buy works which had been painted during his lifetime. He died in 1907 and his widow, Mary Agnes, married Michie in 1909.

“Home from the Hills” was donated to the city along with Arthur Hacker’s “Vae Victus! Sack of Morocco” by Mrs Michie in 1913. 

Five more works by James Coutts Michie were donated to the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in 2002 by L. Richard Smith who was Mrs Michie’s nephew. 

James Coutts Michie died in 1919 in England.

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