Alexander William Wellwood Rattray was a landscape, coastal and flower painter and watercolourist. He was the son of a Glasgow minister.
Rattray was educated at Glasgow University and studied at Glasgow School of Art under Robert Greenlees and in Paris under the landscape painters Damoye and Daubigny. He painted mainly the scenery of the Highlands, East coast and Mull of Kintyre in restrained tones. His technique has been described as clumsy but expressive.
Rattray was an active exhibitor showing in London at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Grosvenor Gallery, New English Art Club and Dowdeswell Galleries. He also exhibited at the Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Manchester City Art Gallery. In 1885 he joined the membership of Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours and in 1887 he was elected a member of the New English Art Club, a year before JW exhibited with the group. He became an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1896. He received honorable mention at the Paris Salon and Paris International Exhibition in 1889 for his Salmon Stream and Ferry, Loch Ranza.
Rattray was among those Glasgow painters who in 1891 appended their names to a list requesting that the Corporation of Glasgow buy Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle (YMSM 137) (#12326).
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940 Woodbridge, 1980; McEwan, Peter J. M., Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture, Woodbridge, 1994.