Jackson Simpson/Mcardle

Henry Jackson Simpson


Henry Jackson Simpson was a prolific Aberdeen artist who painted and etched seascapes, still life, animals and landscapes - and studies of the River Dee in all its moods.

Born into a large family, Jackson Simpson went to Ferryhill Primary School, and then to Gordon's College. He was lucky to come under the influence of his uncle, Alex (Sandy) Fraser, who was head of Gray's School of Art, and young Henry spent many hours watching him in his studio at Newtonhill.

Despite Henry's delicate constitution, he fought in France in 1914, first in the artillery, then the Northumberland Fusiliers, and won the Military Cross for bravery.

His etching career had been interrupted by the war, because the copper used in the plates was needed for munitions, but when the war was over he joined the family framing business in Union Street, and studied at Gray's School of Art.

Jackson Simpson painted all over the North-east. He loved the sporting life, and this gave him inspiration for his work; etchings of waterfowl, watercolours of his dogs, hunting parties at Crathes and Tarland, the fishermen on the river - all were grist to his artistic mill.

He captured the luminescent light of the coastline - from Cove and Catterline to Montrose - and transferred it to paper. His etchings of Marischal College and The Old Crown are still perennial favourites with exiled Aberdonians.

An outstanding draughtsman, he was employed by Foresterhill hospital to make colour sketches of eyes during operations, for medical journals.

Jackson Simpson, who by this time had dropped the "Henry" to avoid confusion with another Aberdeen etcher, took over the family shop at 4 Diamond Street, Aberdeen, where his brother made frames.

An all- round artist and teacher, Jackson was known , too, as a restorer, and was the North-east contact for Sotheby's, Christies and Phillips.

Jackson would be pleased to know that his etching press is still in use. The proud owner is Aberdeen artist Bill Baxter, who has been using it constantly for the last 40 years

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