John J. Inglis (1867 – 1946) was born in Dublin, Ireland on August 26, 1867 to Sir Malcolm and Lady Caroline Inglis of Montrose, Donnybrook. Inglis studied at private schools in Ireland and England and at Dublin University. His father, an art collector, noticed the boy’s talent for sketching and sent him to Kensington Art School. Later young Inglis attended Hibernia Academy and he also studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Gérôme and at the Colorossi Atelier under Courtois and Collins.
Inglis began his painting career on his return to London in 1889. He exhibited at the London Academy, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Scottish Academy. The Royal Academy accepted one of his works in 1890 and in the next year, 1891, one of his six-foot paintings was sold on the opening day of the Royal Academy exhibition for $7,500. The painting was acclaimed by the British press, and the young artist was elected an associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts. He was promoted to full membership the following year.
Early in the twentieth century Inglis journeyed to Montreal on what was to have been a visit with a wealthy industrialist. Inglis stayed a year, moved to Ottawa and then into the Georgian Bay District, where he labored for two years as a lumberjack. Still smitten with wanderlust, he went to the rich mining district of the dominion and turned prospector. He later went back to Dublin where he remained for two years before returning to Montreal. The trail led to many places and Inglis was employed at various times as a tan bark peeler, a canal mule driver, a pick and shovel wielder and a construction helper and laborer.
His travels took him to Niagara Falls and Lockport, New York and finally in 1907 to Rochester, where Inglis decided to return to his art. He accepted a position at the School of Applied Arts at the Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute which became the second professional art school in Rochester. Inglis taught there along with M. Louise Stowell and he developed into a landscape painter of the first rank, producing highly coloristic interpretations of the local landscape. Inglis was Rochester’s premier Impressionist, painting scenes in the city as well as the rural landscape and the more rugged countryside of western New York State.
In 1923 Inglis was named a director of the Memorial Art Gallery. He also took on the job of restoring the extensive portrait collection owned by the Rochester Historical Society, a task he completed in 1927.
After a long illness, Inglis died at his home in Rochester on September 2, 1946. He was survived by his wife, Anne, a daughter, a son, and a sister and brother.
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