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James Hamilton Mackenzie was born in Glasgow in 1875 to Christina Mackenzie and Alexander Cambell Mackenzie, a master cooper. He studied at The Glasgow School of Art and in Paris and Florence, after having received a Haldane travelling scholarship. He was married in 1907 to fellow artist Margaret Thomson Wilson, who died of pneumonia in 1912. During the First World War he served in the Royal Army Service Corps in East Africa. From 1920 to 1923 he taught etching at The Glasgow School of Art. He sketched widely while travelling, at home in Scotland as well as abroad and on service in East Africa. His principal works include 'Cathedral Tower, Bruges' and 'Cathedral of St Francis of Assisi'. He was elected to the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) in 1910 and Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy (ARSA) in 1923. He was president of the Glasgow Art Club from 1923-24. In 1926 he was killed in a railway accident in Glasgow. He is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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Sources: Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture, Peter J M McEwan; Scotland's People: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.