James Hume Nisbet ~ Bio
James Hume Nisbet (8 August 1849 – 4 June 1923) was a Scottish-born novelist and artist. Many of his thrillers are set in Australia.
Nisbet was born in Stirling, Scotland and received special artistic training, and was educated under the Rev. Dr. Culross (later of Bristol College) up to the age of fifteen.
At 16 years of age he went to Australia and stayed about seven years, during which he travelled to Tasmania, New Zealand, and the South Sea Islands, painting, sketching, writing poetry and stories, and making notes for future work. He spent one year of the period acquiring theatrical experience at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, under the actor Richard Stewart.
Nisbet returned to London in 1872, and spent some time in studying and copying pictures in the National Gallery and in South Kensington. At the end of the next year he went back to Scotland and devoted himself to art, with an occasional lapse into literature. For eight years he was art master of the Watt Institution and School of Art, Edinburgh.
Among his best-known paintings are “Eve’s first Moonrise,” “The Flying Dutchman,” “The Dream of Sardanapalus,” four pictures of “The Ancient Mariner,” and “The Battle of Dunbar.”
Nisbet devoted most of his time to writing. He produced many volumes of verse, books on art and fiction. Several of his novels are coloured by his Australian experiences and appear to have had some success. Miller in his Australian Literature lists about 40 novels published between 1888 and 1905. During the next 10 years he published a few more books, including Hathor and Other Poems, which appeared as the first volume of his poetic and dramatic works in 1905. There was another edition in 1908.
Many of Nisbet’s volumes were of ghost stories. These include Paths of the Dead (1899), Stories Weird and Wonderful (1900), and The Haunted Station (1894) whose title story (about a haunted property or “station” in the Australian Outback) has often been reprinted.
Nisbet died in Eastbourne, Sussex, England on 4 June 1923.