Scottish painter, born in Dunfermline to a family of weavers. He studied at the
Father: Joseph Neil Paton, an accomplished damask designer
Mother: Catherine McDiarmid, claimed to be a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce and Malcolm Canmore
1821 – Born December 13th,
1838 – Head designer at a
muslin factory in
1843 – Enrolled at
1846 – Painted ‘The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania’; note: Nat. Gal. of Scotland lists this as 1850.
1847 – Painted ‘The Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania’
Elected associate member of the
1848 – Drew ‘Faust in the Witch’s Kitchen’ from Part One of Goethe’s Faust
1850 – Elected full member of the
1858 – Married Margaret Ferrier; moved to
1861 – Published Poems by A Painter
1863 – Illustrated Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner
1866 – Appointed
Queen’s Limner for
1867 – Knighted
1867 – Published Spindrift, another volume of poetry.
1868 – Commissioned to design a carved stone for the Dunfermline Mercat Cross unicorn.
1875 – Honorary Degree LLD
1880 – Illustrated Water Babies, written by Charles Kingsley
1888 – Freeman of the Royal
1901 – Died December 26, 1901
He designed a stained glass window
for the nave of Dunfermline Abbey. His three
most successful religious paintings are ‘Vigilate
et Orate’, ‘The Man of Sorrows’ and ‘The Good
Shepherd’. He and his wife raised eleven children. Queen
Joseph Noel’s brother, Waller Hugh Paton (July 27, 1828 – March 8, 1895), was also a painter in oil & watercolor, sculptor, illustrator and engraver. Together with Joseph Noel, he illustrated Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers and Poems and Songs (by Robert Burns).
Sister Amelia became a sculptress.
Joseph Noel’s eldest son, Diarmid Noel Paton (b. 1859), became professor of
Joseph Noel’s son, Frederick Noel Paton (b. 1861), became director of Commercial Intelligence to the Government of India in 1905.
Paton’s close friends in the
artistic world included John Everett Millais, whom he met at the
Thanks for visiting! Return to Chris Jamison’s home page: http://www.mindspring.com/~cjamison/
I lived in Dunfermline
for a few months (spring of 1991). While there, I traveled to nearby Edinburgh often. I went to the National Gallery of Scotland, and there
first saw Paton’s two works: The
Quarrel of Oberon and Titiana and The
Reconciliation of Oberon and Titiana. I
could look at these two works for a long time. Then I found out that
Paton was from
Back in the
Paton also illustrated an edition
of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient
Mariner, a favorite of mine. I found this out in 1998 when
Wordsworth’s house at Grasmere
In a great crossover, the heavy metal band Iron Maiden wrote a song about the Rime (on Powerslave, 1984). I’m not a metal fan, but I do like this song. It’s long (over 13 minutes) and gives a great interpretation of the story (lyrics). Mp3’s are out there… Here’s a clip from the Iron Maiden site.
Paton’s two paintings, The Quarrel and the Reconciliation, of course derive from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have a leather bound, boxed copy of the play illustrated by Charles Vess. It is one of my favorite books. Here is a link to someone who really likes the character Puck. His links lead many places.
3/2005: I added the entry for Joseph Noel Paton to Wikipedia. 12/2005: Thanks to all those who have updated it so nicely.
2006: I purchased Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley, illustrated by Paton (frontispiece and page 150):
The Works of Charles Kingsley, Volume IX, The Water Babies. Published in
(6/24/2007 note: this book
is included with Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and
MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin as being one of the direct
ancestors of Fantasy Literature – reference professor Michael Drout of
October, 2007: Here's a neat thread of connection through a number of topics –
Dunfermline has Malcolm Canmore’s tower – he’s the guy who killed Macbeth in 1057. I like Shakespeare's Macbeth. I just read it. Macbeth was written for James I of England – son of Mary Stuart (James I, by the way, is descended directly from Banquo, also of Macbeth fame). Mary & Elizabeth are the subject of a book I’m reading right now, and the subject of these two Elizabeth movies. The movies are directed by Shekhar Kapur. He, along with Deepak Chopra, are behind Virgin Comics, which published the graphic novel Ramayan 3392 AD, a futuristic take on the Ramayana of India. I just recently purchased and read this book as well. So that’s how you can get from Dunfermline to Indian Mythology in just a few steps!
I paid a visit to some Joseph Noel Paton sites this year, as part of my two week holiday in Scotland with my daughter Claire. We visited the National Gallery in Edinburgh, and the Dunfermline City Chambers in Dunfermline, Fife. I also discovered that Paton played a hand in refurbishing the Dunfermline Mercat Cross, High Street, Dunfermline. I’ve updated my page here with the information and references, as well as links to the pictures I took.
Dunfermline (Scotland) City Chambers: The Spirit of Religion (1845)
National Gallery of Scotland: Faust in the Witch’s Kitchen (1848)
National Gallery of
National Gallery of
Waller Hugh Paton (1828-1895)
National Gallery of Scotland: Donnattar Castle (1867) – confirmed June, 2011
The Angel and Sir Galahad
The Bluidie Tryst (1855), Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum;
Bruce and the Spider (1850)
Christ Bearing the Cross
Dawn: Luther at Erfurt (1861); National Galleries of Scotland;
located at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
Faust in the Witch’s Kitchen (1848)
The Good Shepherd
Hesperus The Evening Star Sacred to Lovers (1857), Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum
subtitled “The return from the Crimea”;
The Royal Collection reports this dated 1859. I’m not sure where it actually resides (as of 2010).
How an Angel Rowed Sir Galahad Across the Dern Mere (1888)
In Die Malo (1882)
In Memoriam (1863-4); The Royal Collection, info;
The Indian Boy’s Mother (1849); Christie’s sale, 2009;
Mors Janua Vitae (1866); Christie’s sale, 2003;
Oberon and the Mermaid (1888)
Oskold and the Ell-Maids (1874)
Paolo and Francesca Da Rimini (1866)
Puck and the Fairy
The Pursuit of Pleasure (1855)
Queen Margaret and Malcolm Canmore (1886), Dunfermline City Chambers;
Seizure of Roger Mortimer by Edward III in Nottingham Castle (), Dunfermline City Chambers;
Sermon on the Mount (1849)
Sir Galahad (1888)
Sir Galahad and His Angel
Song of Silenus (1858)
The Spirit of Religion (1845), Dunfermline City Chambers;
Under the Sea I
Under the Sea II
The Valley of the Shadow of Death (1866)
Vigilate et Orate
Compositions from Shakespeare’s Tempest, 1845 (Paton, illustrator)
Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1863, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Paton, illustrator)
Water Babies (Paton, illustrator)
The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1846) The Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania (1847)
Oil on canvas 99 cm x 152 cm Oil on canvas 76.2 cm x 122.6 cm
Both hang at the National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh
5/6/2002: cannot link directly to the images at tripod. I’ll have to create .htm pages which display them.
Others – to come…
my image of the Dunfermline City Chambers building, housing works by Paton;
my image of Paton’s Queen Margaret and King Malcolm Canmore;
my image of Paton’s Seizure of Roger Mortimer by Edward III in Nottingham Castle;
my images of Dunfermline’s Mercat Cross: mercat1, mercat2, mercat3, mercat4, mercat5;
1/2001: A great site with other fairy painting images: http://homepage.virgin.net/nigel.suckling/pfoyer.htm
9/2004: Treatment of Shakespeare using Paton as illustration: http://www.endicott-studio.com/jMA03Summer/shakespeare.html
9/2004: Background on Paton & a treatment of his fairy paintings: http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/classes/Shakespeare_Illustrated/Paton.MSND.html
9/2004: Victorian Fairy Paintings: http://www.denison.edu/art/fairy/index.html (12/2010 – link is dead, but site exists)
9/2004: Many galleries of fairy paintings: http://faeriefae.50megs.com/faery_art.htm
11/2004: Collection of web resources: http://www.mezzo-mondo.com/art-gallery/directory/Joseph-Noel-Paton.php
2/2005: Richard Schindler knows a bit about Paton: http://webpub.alleg.edu/employee/r/rschindl/vita.html (12/2010 - dead link)
3/2007: on Classic Encylopedia: http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Sir_Joseph_Noel_Paton
And the wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Noel_Paton
12/2010: updated links…
6/2011: updated for 2011 based on trip to Scotland, including Dunfermline and Edinburgh.
Your Guide to Dunfermline, February 2009; reprinted May 2010.
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