Daniel Macnee

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Sir Daniel Macnee FRSE PRSA LLD (4 June 1806, Fintry, Stirlingshire – 17 January 1882, Edinburgh), was a Scottish portrait painter who served as president of the Royal Scottish Academy (1876). [1]


Peter Denny (1821-1895), 1868 Peter Denny (1821-1895), by Daniel Macnee.jpg
Peter Denny (1821–1895), 1868
Janet Hamilton Campbell Conversation Pictures - children of Colin Campbell of Colgrain and Camis Eskan by Daniel Macnee, 1845 Conversation Pictures - Children of Colin Campbell of Colgrain and Camis Eskan by Daniel Macnee 1845.JPG
Janet Hamilton Campbell Conversation Pictures – children of Colin Campbell of Colgrain and Camis Eskan by Daniel Macnee, 1845
Macnee's large house at 6 Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh 6 Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh.jpg
Macnee's large house at 6 Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh
The grave of Daniel Macnee, Dean Cemetery The grave of Daniel Macnee, Dean Cemetery.jpg
The grave of Daniel Macnee, Dean Cemetery


He was born at Fintry in Stirlingshire. [2] At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed, alongside Horatio McCulloch and Leitch the water colourist, to the landscape artist John Knox. He afterwards worked for a year as a lithographer, and was employed by a company in Cumnock, Ayrshire (Smiths of Cumnock), to paint the ornamental lids of their sycamore-wood snuff-boxes. [3]

He studied in Edinburgh at the Trustees' Academy, where he supported himself by illustrating publications for William Home Lizars the engraver. Moving to Glasgow, he established himself as a fashionable portrait painter. In 1829 he was admitted as a member of the Royal Scottish Academy. He does not appear as an independent property owner until 1840 when he is listed as a portrait painter living at 126 West Regent Street in Glasgow. [4]

On the death of Sir George Harvey in 1876 he was elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy. From then until his death he remained in Edinburgh, where, according to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica , "his genial social qualities and his inimitable powers as a teller of humorous Scottish anecdotes rendered him popular". [3] He lived at 6 Learmonth Terrace in Edinburgh's fashionable West End. [5]

He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1877. In the same year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Thomas Brumby Johnston, John Hutton Balfour, Sir Andrew Douglas Maclagan and Sir Charles Wyville Thomson. [6]

Several of Macnee's works are held by the National Portrait Gallery in London and at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Macnee is buried in Dean Cemetery in western Edinburgh with his wife Mary Buchanan, and children, Constance and Thomas Wiseman Macnee. They lie against the north wall of the northern extension.


He was first married to Margaret (1810–1847) by whom he had at least seven children, including Horace Macnee CE. She is buried in Glasgow Necropolis. [7]

He was married (c.1850), secondly, to Mary Buchanan Macnee (1834–1931), 28 years his junior.

His daughter Isabella Wiseman was the subject of his masterpiece "Lady in Grey" (1859), which is held in the National Gallery of Scotland. [8]

His great-grandson was the actor Patrick Macnee.

Notable portraits

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  1. Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). Vol. II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN   978-0-902198-84-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  2. Bryan, Michael; Williamson, George C. (1904). "Macnee, Daniel, Sir". Bryan's dictionary of painters and engravers. Vol. 3, H–M. NY: Macmillan. p. 266.
  3. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Macnee, Sir Daniel". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 265.
  4. Glasgow Post Office Directory 1840-41
  5. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1880-1
  6. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   0-902-198-84-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  7. Macnee grave, Glasgow Necropolis
  8. "A Lady in Grey (The Artist's Daughter, Later Mrs Wiseman) - Art UK". Artuk.org. Retrieved 9 June 2018.