- Brief Biography
Geddes was born in Edinburgh in 1783 and educated at the Royal High School and Edinburgh University. He was the son of David Geddes, a collector of prints and the Deputy Auditor of Excise in Edinburgh. Geddes went to London about 1807, where he studied at the Royal Academy Schools. Here he became friends with the Scottish artist David Wilkie.
Geddes is best known as a portrait painter and for his involvement in reviving the art of etching in Scotland. His activities as a portraitist were divided between London and his native city. Throughout his career Geddes painted aristocratic society such as the Duchess of York and the Earl of Buchan. In 1813 he made a trip to Paris through Flanders where he studied the work of the Old Masters, particularly the Dutch painters whom he preferred to the Italians. Geddes admired Rembrandt and the influence of his dark, moody palette can be seen in his work. In 1824 he became an honorary member of the Institute for the Encouragement of Fine Arts in Scotland. In 1827 he married Adela, with whom he remained until his death due to consumption on 5 May 1844 in Bath.