The Old Print Shop

James D. Smillie


James David Smillie was an American etcher, engraver, painter and watercolorist, born in New York City. Son of the influential Scottish engraving James Smillie (1807–1885), he learned engraving from his father and studied at the University of New York and the National Academy of Design. James D. was a founding member of the American Watercolor Society, serving as its president from 1873-1879, and was an early member of the New York Etching Club.

For a time, James D. worked alongside his father producing bank notes. He eventually struck off on his own and traveled through Europe for a period of two years. He returned to the United States with a love for landscape paintings and had a particular love for mountainous regions, such as the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada and Catskill Mountains. 

James D. was the elder brother of painter George Henry Smillie.