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Meffan heralds 2022 with showcase of famous Forfar son’s artwork

Visitor advisor Pauline Low with some of the works in the Meffan exhibition. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.
Visitor advisor Pauline Low with some of the works in the Meffan exhibition. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

He was the son of a shoemaker who honed his talents capturing the characters that frequented his father’s Forfar shop.

And now the town is starting 2022 with a celebration of the work of the man who became a recognised figure of 20th century Scottish art.

The Meffan museum and gallery has opened its exhibition of James Watterston Herald works as its first display of the year.

Forfar art
A roup in Forfar’s Osnaburg Pend. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

And the Angus art vaults provided gallery staff with an array of artwork to choose from.

Rachel Jackson of Angus Alive said: “James Watterston Herald is one of the most heavily represented artists in the Angus Council collections.

“This exhibition showcases a large collection of his popular works which feature Angus scenes in watercolours and pastels.”

Meffan Forfar
Visitors view the Meffan exhibition. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

Teenage talent

Born in Forfar in 1859, Herald was educated at the old West Burgh School and then Forfar Academy.

At the age of 14 he attended art classes at Dundee High School.

And by the time he’d left high school, Herald had acquired a reputation for having great skill for drawing.

James Watterston Herald
One of Waterston Herald’s caricatures. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

He was especially successful at capturing caricatures of local celebrities and customers who frequented his father’s shop.

Herald tried his hand at a number of trades such as a painter and decorator’s assistant.

Edinburgh move

And after moving to Edinburgh in 1884, he took in exhibitions now readily available to him.

It spurred him to create an impressive body of work.

Those painting were mainly inspired by the streets and closes of the capital’s Old Town.

And in that period his work began to meet with critical acclaim.

Several of his works were exhibited by the Royal Scottish Academy.

Broughty Castle
Broughty Castle. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

He returned to Angus in 1890 and perfected his trademark themes such as crowd scenes, public roups and circuses, as well as many harbour motifs.

Herald died in 1914.

Rachel added: “Today the popularity of James Watterson Herald continues to grow and his works can be found hanging on the walls of many homes and galleries throughout Scotland and beyond.”

The Meffan exhibition runs until April 23.

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