I suppose with a name like mine I could never really ignore the heritage of my ancestry an ancestry that until recently was scant and somewhat imagined. I suppose all people who have ties to Scotland are very proud of the fact and I am no different. What is surprising is the way I first reacted when I drove through Glencoe and that area of Scotland, I do not exaggerate when I say that the hairs on my arms literally stood up. I had no idea why and I wasn’t even sure I had Scots ancestry. Does DNA have a memory? In February I finally got my FTDNA results and I had matches to a descendant of Sir John Stewart of Ardgowan, illegitimate son of King Robert III of Scotland, The Rattray and Sinclair Family. I am not sure how all this works but it was enough proof to me that I did indeed have Scots ancestry and it also explains why in 2012 I produced a painting quite out of the blue.
For no other reason than a strong desire to do so, I decided to paint in oils a portrait of an old Highlander. The image was very strong in my mind and it had to be in a neo romantic style. I cannot explain why but I had this vision of a noble, defiant old but sharp witted Highlander, Chief leaning on his Broadsword. Set post Culloden so at a time when all the trappings of the Highland culture, Pipes, plaid, bonnets, swords and weapons were banned by the English Government. But not this man, he was not going to bend to any rule made in London by a German King. He had proudly fought and survived the Battle of Culloden and the subsequent massacres in the Highlands and in his secret Glen he continued to wear his plaid, blue bonnet and white cockade with pride, unbroken.
I tried to add drama to the work and the sky and mountains almost bloody in it’s tones, brooding and haunting reflective of the barbarity that the Highlands were subjected too by the Government army and militias. The Highlander holds you with his gaze and you sense a quiet steadfastness in that gaze that you are welcome to his lands if you come in peace.
I love this painting and my DNA must have been talking to me when I painted it and now that I live and work in Scotland I am pleased to be able to offer fine art prints, produced in Edinburgh for sale to those who I hope will recognise that Highland , and beyond that Scottish spirit of never laying down in the face of adversity.
Should you wish to purchase one of these beautiful prints and I hope you will here is a link to follow.
Andrew Stewart Jamieson