Many will be familiar with the painterly output of James Watterston Herald.
Local art galleries are awash with his watercolours, and a modest example hangs in my hall, appropriately entitled ‘Village News’ and showing a loon reading aloud what I hope is The Courier to a cluster of neighbours.
It was the gift of a publisher colleague and friend.
But hang on. Isn’t that a bed in my picture today?
Yes, indeed, this is a pair of Heal’s of London double bed-ends, but their mahogany head and foot boards are inset with panels painted by J. W. Herald.
Winning many fans
Herald’s blotesque style of soft impressionism is usually pigeonholed between the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists.
As he outgrew Forfar, he removed himself to Edinburgh and, after a short spell in Arbroath, spent eight years in London, where his output won many fans.
I recall Lindsay Burns’ rooms in Perth taking £12,500 for one watercolour from this period.
Yet Herald upped and returned to Arbroath in 1901 – “for twa weeks at the maist” – and remained there until his death 13 years later.
A woodland panel
Painted c1908, the head of the bed has a large woodland panel flanked by two smaller pastoral scenes.
The foot of the bed has one painted panel and both bed-ends are further inset with blue pottery plaques.
Herald and his friend Henry Wyse shared an interest in artistic decoration of household furniture.
Wyse designed his own furniture, which was made in Arbroath by William Middleton, and exhibited at the Dundee Graphic Arts Association.
Pieces of painted furniture by Herald are rare, however.
The bed-ends appeared at Bonham’s on October 12, where they sold for £2550.