Faces from Inverclyde's Past

Prior to the arrival of photography in the Inverclyde area around 1860 the recording of portraits of local people depended on the skills of the artist. Portraits were painted for sitters and their families and on various occasions, where the subject was somthing of a local celebrity, translated into lithograph or engraved prints which were available cheaply. Inverclyde had a resident portrait painter living in Greenock from around 1810 onwards in John Fleming (1792-1845). Throughout his career he recorded the merchants, shipbuilders and other prominent local figures such as John Galt and Henry Bell.

In addition to Fleming, there were several other artists active in the area who were commissioned to paint local figures, including local provosts and politicians, a tradition which continued until the start of the twentieth century. On this page you can see portraits of local people, well-known and not so well-known, painted by artists ranging from the famous to the unknown. They provide an insight into how the creators of Inverclyde appeared and lived.

To get a print or license the use of any of these images please contact the Art UK shop and licensing link on the left of this page. If you have any other questions concerning this collection please contact the Museum at wattinstitution@inverclyde.gov.uk.

See thousands of images and records from the collections of the McLean Museum and Inverclyde Archives on our Collections Online website. Use the link on the left of the page to take you there.