John E Maguire
John E Maguire
John Elliot Maguire (1866-1920) was an amateur artist who lived with his family in Eaglesham in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Working in oils and watercolours, he captured a range of local landscapes, as well as portraits and still life subjects. Many of his scenes of Eaglesham are still recognisable today. Meanwhile, other family members are also remembered locally: eldest son Jack is commemorated on Eaglesham Parish Church’s WWI war memorial, and daughter Annie was known as a china painter.
Born in Beith, North Ayrshire, John Maguire shared the family home with his parents and six brothers. By his early twenties, he was a portrait painter, travelling the countryside looking for work in an age before the camera took precedence. In 1889 he married Mary Paterson, and they went on to have three children: Annie, John (known as Jack) and Russell. By the 1891 census, John was working as a textile designer, a job which he continued to do both as an employee and in a freelance capacity during his lifetime. Some time between the birth of youngest son Russell in 1897 and the 1901 census, the Maguires moved to Eaglesham.
From that point until John Sr’s death in 1920, the family lived at various addresses on Montgomery Street, a location Maguire painted several times. He also painted views of nearby Waterfoot Mill, Craig Mill, Jackton and Kittochside. We know that he contributed at least one work to the annual Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts exhibition.
One of Maguire’s rare interior scenes shows a curling stone workshop, probably in Beith. This painting went on temporary loan to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, for the sports-themed ‘Playing for Scotland’ exhibition, which went on display when the gallery reopened in late 2011.
In total, thirty-two oils, ten watercolours and one photograph (all unframed) were donated to the Heritage Service by the artist’s grandson. Images of all the works can be viewed on the Heritage Catalogue. During our Museum Artefacts project in (2010-12) a number of the paintings were restored and framed, and are on display in Eaglesham Community Library. In addition to the East Renfrewshire collection, four other examples of Maguire’s work can be seen at the National Museum of Rural Life, near Kittochside.