The Beaver Hat
Edward Arthur Walton, RSA, 1860-1922
Oil on canvas
79 x 42 inches
Provenance: The Fine Art Society; The family of the artist
Exhibited: Liverpool, Autumn Exhibition, 1923;Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Carnegie Institute
Commentary by Christopher Newall
Walton was a Scottish painter of portraits and landscapes. He was born in Renfrewshire and was educated in Glasgow; his art training took place in Glasgow and Dusseldorf. He was friends with Joseph Crawhall and Sir James Guthrie. Walton lived in Glasgow until 1894; then in London until 1906; and subsequently in Edinburgh. Like various other Scottish painters of his generation Walton revered Whistler, and, particularly in terms of portraiture, was influenced by him.
On grounds of dress this portrait may be dated to the years immediately before the First World War. The formula of the painting derives from Whistler's standing female portraits of the late 1870s and 1880s. Amongst the paintings by Whistler which were shown at the Royal Scottish Academy each year from 1899 to 1904 were The Furjacket and Mrs. Louis Huth either one of which may have remained in Walton's mind as an image if in fact he saw them in Edinburgh, and perhaps provided the first idea for his portrait of ten years later.