Arthur Melville (1855-1904) was a Scottish watercolor painter known for his unusual use of color and impressionistic style. I was inspired to look him up by this painting, The Music Boat, Venice, which I find delightful. Its date is listed as 1904, so it must have been one of his last works.
He was born at Loanhead-of-Guthrie in Angus, a real out-of-the way place. I haven't read anything about his family but he must have been born to money, because he studied in Paris and did a lot of traveling before he ever had much success as a painter. This is the first painting he exhibited at the Royal Academy, A Cabbage Garden, 1877.
Zooming in on the cabbages you can see the rather wayward treatment of color that was his hallmark.
According to what I have read, most of Melville's paintings were of everyday life, and he became associated with a bunch of realists known as the Glasgow Boys who were sort of the Ashcan School of Scotland, that is, they liked to paint things other artists considered beneath them. But this is the only other such painting I have found online, The Chalk Cutting, 1898.
The internet is not much for scenes of everyday life. Or for scenes of golf, which the sources say were a specialty of Melville's. I imagine those hang in golf clubs and the man caves of wealthy players across Britain, but otherwise that is not the taste of this generation. No, we like the showy and the exotic. And as it happens Melville also did a lot of showy, exotic work, so that is what an online search turns up. This is Cophetua and the Beggar Maid, 1898, an old story about a king who disdained all women until he saw one particular beggar maid on the street and fell instantly in love with her. I find it fascinating that these stories were so widely told among people for whom romantic love played a rather small part in society, since all of their marriages were arranged.
Melville's career as an Orientalist began with a long trip he took to the Middle East in 1881 to 1882. He sailed to Cairo, spent some time in Egypt, and then traveled overland to Baghdad and from Baghdad to Constantinople. He did some paintings outside despite the brutal heat, and he also filled sketch books with ideas that he developed into more paintings back in Scotland. Baghdad, 1883.
An Arab Interior, 1881.
He continued his wandering ways for the rest of his life, spending time in Venice
Morocco, and more. Directly above is one of his most famous works, A Moorish Procession in Tangier, 1893.
Close-up of faces showing the technique.
He died at 49 after contracting typhoid in Spain. A Sapphire Sea, 1892.