I had the pleasure last year of meeting Matthew John Donnachie who at the time was working on the first volume of his book, ‘The Jacobite Officer’. We began talking about the project and he told me he was a great admirer of my work and beyond that we shared a passion for the Jacobite history of Scotland. He asked if I might paint some art for the book as he had recently seen my portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie. I said I would be happy to and thus began our journey.
I started to receive the text of the book to be published, promotional videos and sound bites of some really quite amazing music that had been composed as well as photographic stills. I read the texts and listened to the music, studied the photos and began to slip into a enchanted, mysterious and mythological underworld populated by Kelpies and Faeries set in the sometimes dark and brooding landscape of the Highlands of Scotland. The hero, Donnachaidh Mhor is an Officer in the Jacobite army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart more popularly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Prince is campaigning to get the throne of the three Kingdoms, Scotland, Ireland and England back for his Father James, the rightful King. Carrying dispatches the Jacobite Officer becomes lost and bewitched by a beautiful woman who leads him into a Celtic underworld. I found myself totally absorbed and immersed in this story and ideas began to flow.
At first there were too many to be included in a single painting and Matthew and I agreed that it needed to be simpler and so after various attempts I finally settled on a traditional portrait set against a Highland landscape showing elements of the Isle of Skye and Eilean Dolan Castle, both locations feature in the book and slowly the image came to life. Completed in time for the book I offered an image of the Bonnie Prince also for the same volume and Matthew happily agreed to include it.
I have had my work published in numerous books and magazine articles throughout my career and have even written and illustrated my own work on Coats of Arms but this was different. Special, because it was about the land that I have always loved and have recently been blessed to call home, set in a period and around a cause that I am passionate about and written and produced by someone who had an amazing vision and through his own good offices has brought what was once just an idea, to fruition at great cost to himself. I am only a part of a small team who helped the author realise his dream and to be a part in that dream is an honour. I thoroughly recommend that any one who reads this article also go out and order the Jacobite Officer. If you like historical romance then you won’t be disappointed. The book can be ordered from the official website along with more information.
Andrew Stewart Jamieson