Through the 1880s and 1890s, around the same time that the Spook School was gaining prominence, a collective which came to be known as the Glasgow Boys was interpreting and expanding the canon of Impressionist and post-impressionist painting. Their subject matter featured rural, prosaic scenes from in and around Glasgow. Their colorful depictions attempted to capture the many facets of the character of Scotland.
The Glasgow Boys consisted of several men, most of whom were trained in, or had strong ties to the city of Glasgow. These men were brought together by a passion for realism and naturalism and this showed through in the pieces they produced. Along with this passion for naturalism, they shared a marked distaste for the Edinburgh oriented Scottish art establishment, which they viewed as oppressive. Driven and motivated by these ideals they embraced change, created masterpieces, and became Scottish icons in the process.
Among the painters associated with the group were Joseph Crawhall (1861–1913), Thomas Millie Dow (1848-1919), James Guthrie (1859–1930), George Henry (1858–1943), E. A. Hornel (1864–1933), James Whitelaw Hamilton (1860-1932) and E. A. Walton (1860–1922). David Gauld (1865–1936), William Kennedy (1859–1918), John Lavery (1856–1941), Harrington Mann (1864-1937), Stuart Park (1862–1933), William Wells (1872–1923), David Young Cameron (1865–1945), Alexander Ignatius Roche (1861–1923), Arthur Melville (1855–1904), Thomas Corsan Morton (1859-1928), James Nairn (1859–1904), George Pirie (1863-1946) and John Quinton Pringle (1864–1925). James Paterson (1854–1932) and William York Macgregor (1855-1923) were leading figures in the group, which used to meet at Macgregor's studio.
Their main influences were that of Japanese print, French Realism including Jules Bastien-Lepage, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, but all of their experiences around the world greatly impacted on and inspired their work, in particular in Spain, North Africa, and Japan. The group was constantly influenced by what they saw in the world around them and strove to display these images by utilizing the techniques of realism and naturalism; they had a passion to depict things as they actually are. This is one of the reasons that the group often chose to work outdoors. Working outdoors allowed them to produce paintings that were as true to nature as possible and it allowed them to paint realistic objects in their natural environment. They painted real people in real places. The production of naturalistic paintings was new to this time period, and thus their techniques were considered to be innovative. Similarly, the pieces often created a sense of movement, an accurate (or naturalistic) depiction of light and shade, and extremely realistic texture. This made them stand out in the art community.