1839 Edinburgh - 1911 London
He was a son of an Edinburgh paper manufacturer who was also an amateur draughtsman, botanist and geologist. He studies at The Trustees Academy, going later to London with Chalmers and Pettie. He traveled to Norway, Austria, Germany, Italy and the Alps. Ruskin admired the early watercolour studies of wild flowers, mosses, stones and seaweed made in Norway. He compared MacWhirter studies to Durer, and bought twenty-five of them, to use in his teaching in Oxford Art School, and subsequently bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum. MacWhirter became increasingly more interested in broader atmospheric studies then in fine detailed work. Increasingly attracted to the Scottish landscapes, using strong colours and subordinating details to the general effect. Eventually he focussed on trees, especially silver birch. He was friends with William McTaggart and his freedom of technique shows the influence of this relationship.