29 December 1876
Meeting held at Paisley School of Design proposes an art society
Inspired by his pupils, Paisley School of Design art teacher, William Stewart (1826-1906), mooted the idea of setting up an art institute in the town. At a meeting chaired by Provost David Murray (1807-1879) and attended by interested parties, including starch manufacturer John Polson Jr (1825-1900), local antiquarian David Semple (1808–1878), and other prominent Paisley townsfolk, a plan was hatched which would promote "the rising talent of your town, to foster and develop a love and taste for art in this community." Stewart outlined a series of proposals for the Institute, to be passed at the meeting. These included the society being named the Paisley Art Institute, monthly meetings or conversaziones, where drawings or finished works could be exhibited, lectures on the history of art, a life class and exhibitions of art. The fact that wealthy Paisley business people were buying art was another important factor.