First Watson Gordon chair of fine art at Edinburgh University (first chair of fine arts in the British Isles) 1880-1930; early monuments preservationist. Brown's father was a minister, James Baldwin Brown (1820-1884) and his mother, Elizabeth Leifchild (Brown). His uncle was the sculptor Henry Leifchild (1823-1884). After attending Uppingham School, he earned a scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford, in 1869. He graduated with a degrees in classics in 1871 and literae humaniores (humanities) in 1873.