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 Hume Nisbet  (1849 - 1923)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/Australia/Scotland      Known for: Landscape painting

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Herkis H. Nisbet is primarily known as Hume Nisbet

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Hume Nisbet, alias Herkis H. Nisbet, alias H.H. Nisbet  (August 8, 1849-July 4, 1923)

James Hume Nisbet was born in Stirling on August 8, 1849, the son of a painter and decorator, James Herkis Nisbet (1816-1881).  He trained in art with Sam Brough, R.S.A., in Edinburgh.  In 1866, at the age of 16, Hume sailed for Australia with his father, brother and stepmother, first settling in  Melbourne.  Over the next seven years he tried many occupations, including the theater.  He traveled widely and also began writing.

Upon his return to the United Kingdom, Hume settled in London and studied art at South Kensington.  After completing his studies he was appointed art master at the Watt Institute and School of Art in Edinburgh, forerunner of today's Heriot Watt University.  He married Helen Currie, daughter of the well-known Border sculptor Andrew Currie, on November 1, 1875.   

Hume resigned his teaching post after eight years and concentrated on painting.  His "Feast of Sardanapolous" was exhibited in 1884, and the following year "The Last of the Spanish Armada" was accepted for hanging by the Society of British Artists (S.S.) in London.  He also pursued a literary career and in 1880 his book The practical in painting was published in Edinburgh by Muir and Patterson.  In the 1870s Nisbet adopted Herkis as his first name; paintings may be signed as Hume Nisbet (the name under which his books were written), Herkis H. Nisbet, or H.H. Nisbet.

In 1887 Hume and his family moved south to London, settling first in Harrow and then at Clapham, where Hume painted and exhibited for the next twenty years.  He also became more and more involved with writing.  He again visited Australia (with his wife and children) in 1895, after obtaining a commission from Cassells of London, to write and illustrate articles for a book to be called Picturesque Australia.  His travels in Australia and New Zealand resulted in nine chapters in the three-volume book.

On his return to Clapham, Hume concentrated on writing, producing numerous novels and travel books between 1887 and 1923.  He also another five books on practical art.  

After Helen Currie died in 1901, Nisbet married Katherine Septima Hopper on 28 January 28, 1902, at the Tyndale Chapel, White Ladies Road, Bristol.

He retired to Eastbourne, dying there on June 4, 1923.

Raymond Nisbet Rolinson. Nesbitt & Nisbet Artists. London: Nesbitt/Nisbet Society, 2008

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