“The east Perthshire town of Blairgowrie was the home of William Geddes, a self taught artist. He became the central figure of a small group of painters who gathered in the town. Together, we refer to them as ‘The Blairgowrie Boys’ their fame was largely contained to the locality. The growing reputation of Blairgowrie as a favourite place for artists, encouraged others to settle in the town. These included Jane Elizabeth Spindler, who was originally from Dundee.
William Geddes (1840-1884) was born in Blairgowrie and became well known as a painter of scenes from Scottish life and as a painter of fish. He was also highly regarded for his witty and popular writing. Among his achievements was a joint commission from Andrew Carnegie, the American steel magnate, for a painting commemorating Carnegie’s visit to Dunfermline. This can now be seen at the Carnegie Birthplace Museum. In 1864, he had met and married Margaret Ewan. they settled in Blairgowrie, where they had eleven children. They first lived at Riverside House in Rattray from about 1872 to 74, before moving to Gowanbrae Cottage in 1874, where William spent the rest of his life. It was there he converted outhouses into a studio. From the mid-1860s, William exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. He was also a member of the Scottish Arts Club. William occasionally used watercolour but more often he painted in oils. He frequently used members of his family as models. William had a reputation for having a pleasant personality and for a being a generous and witty host. His circle of friends included artists and gallery owners as well as local families in Blairgowrie, chiefly the Grimonds of Oakbank. He is associated with a number of artists including David Farqhuarson, William Dickson, James Michael brown and Thomas Burnett. William died in Blairgowrie in 1884 at the age of 44 after a long illness. He is buried with his parents at the Hill Kirk.