Jack Firth RSW (1917-2010) had two distinguished careers: firstly as a school teacher connected with the Edinburgh College of Art and lastly at the department of art for Lothian Region. And secondly he was a gifted artist who painted throughout his life but, when he retired in 1982, concentrated on watercolours and exhibited widely. Firth was a popular lecturer and gave talks on art to children and adults throughout Scotland for the Scottish Arts Council. He painted mostly in a traditional style and had a fine way of capturing the coastlines of Scotland and the countryside of France. There was a beguiling individuality and vitality about his watercolours, and they were given an extra zest with his keen sense of colour. Firth did few portraits, but one was particularly notable: that of Sir Robin Philipson, a close friend, in his studio at work. The picture now hangs in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Firth was elected a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) in 1961 and twice served as its vice-president.
During the Second World War he saw service with, and was commissioned in, the Royal Artillery before spending the last year of the war in the Royal Army Education Corps acting as an education officer for Headquarters BAOR in Germany. Firth then returned to Edinburgh to teach in schools from 1946 to 1963, first at Broughton High School and then Forrester High School.
Much of his work was created in Scotland - he had a special affection for the coastline around Ullapool and the Morayshire countryside. He often visited France and took delight in capturing the changing light on the statues and carvings of Chartres Cathedral.