Greenlees, James M. Robert (Scottish, 1820-1894)

Robert Greenlees had been a pupil teacher at the The Glasgow School of Art, a position which required the winning of a bronze medal. A small stipend was offered and the pupil divided his time between his own work, and teaching drawing in the elementary classes. Greenlees had progressed through the various grades of attainment on the national curriculum and was awarded an Art Master’s certificate on the basis of his accumulated subject passes.


In 1863, he was appointed headmaster at The Glasgow School of Art, after Heath Wilson’s retirement. He held this post from 1863-1881, and oversaw the move in 1869 from Ingram Street to the Corporation Buildings on Sauchiehall Street, with the main entrance to the School being 3 Rose Street. Greenlees was a founder member of the Glasgow Art Club, and served as president from 1882-1883.


Greenlees worked as a stained glass artist and later as a landscape painter, working primarily in oil and watercolour. He was an early member of the West of Scotland Academy, and a founder member of the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters in Scotland. He specialised in West Highland subjects, typically woodland scenes with birch trees growing out of a carpet of ferns. His technical skill was impressive and he ranks as a very competent landscape painter. As a supporter of life classes for women he employed women teachers at the School. His own daughter, Georgina, was one of the four female teachers employed.

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