Charles Hodge Mackie 1862-1920

Charles Hodge Mackie RSA, RSW was born in Aldershot in 1862, the son of an army captain of Scottish descent. The family moved to Edinburgh where, for a short time, he attended Edinburgh University as a medical student before choosing to study art at the Scottish Royal Academy School.

After studying Mackie lived and worked in Kirkcudbright. In 1892, he travelled to Brittany were he spent time with the artist Paul Sérusier. Sérusier introduced Mackie to the works of Gaugin, Vuillard and Le Sidaner. The frescos and murals that Mackie produced in 1893 for Patrick Geddes as part of his urban renewal project for Edinburgh Old Town at Ramsay Garden show a strong French influence. Mackie returned to France in 1893 when he honeymooned in Paris with his wife Anne MacDonald Walls.

In 1900 he co-founded and was the first President of SSA (Society of Scottish Artists) and in 1901, encouraged by Dame Ethel Walker, Mackie was a founder member of the Staithes Art Club. In the late 19th century, with the expansion of the Railways, the Yorkshire Coastline at Staithes had become a magnet for a number of artists. These artists were part of a wider movement inspired by the French 'Plein Air' movement who had set up artists colonies across Brittany and around Fontainebleau to practice outdoor painting.

The group had their first exhibition (in 1901) at the Fishermen’s Institute in Staithes. Two other notable members of the group were Harold Knight and Laura Johnson (who later became Dame Laura Knight), both of whom lived in Staithes after marrying in 1903 until the their move to Newlyn in 1907 when the club disbanded. It was during this time that Mackie started his a long-term friendship with Laura, who decades later said of Mackie ‘...I never paint a picture now without thinking of what he taught me. I shall always be grateful for the time and trouble he spent, which lifted me out of a morass.’

Mackie was a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours (RSW), was elected Chairman of the Scottish Society of Artists and he became a full Member of the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in 1917. Mackie died in Edinburgh in 1920.

During his career, Mackie exhibited at Agnew and Sons, Colnaghi & Co. Galleries, the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, the International Society, the Walker Gallery Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery, the New English Art Club, the Royal Academy, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours and the Yorkshire Union of Artists.

Both the National Gallery of Scotland and The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation hold works by Mackie in their permanent collections.