Louis Whirter Biography

Louis Whirter




Printmaker, painter, and illustrator Louis Whirter (also: Weirter) was born in Edinburgh in 1873. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy Schools, and in Paris. He is best known for his pictures of the Great War, as well as painted landscapes and architectural etchings. Somewhat confusingly, his paintings bear the signature "Louis Weirter," while his etchings are signed "Louis Whirter", perhaps owing to his German father's spelling of the last name.

Whirter fought in the 2nd Airborne observational group of the Royal Flying Corps, earning the rank of Captain and documenting the war in sketches that he later recreated in oil paintings. He illustrated a number of travel books, and worked as a poster designer for the Underground Group (Underground Electric Railways Company of London) in the last two years of his life. He lived in London and at Étaples in France.

From the obituary in The Art News, Vol. 30, no., 19, 2/6/1932: "Louis Weirter, the Scottish artist and inventor, died on the night of January 12 at his home in Onslow-Gardens, South Kensington, at the age of 61, it is learned from The Times of London. He was an original member of the Scottish Society of Artists and exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Paris Salon and other exhibitions in many parts of the world. Of his war pictures, The Battle of Courcelette was bought for the national collection at Ottawa. Peronne is also at Ottawa, and War in the Air is in the British War Museum."