Catterline continues celebration of connection to famous Scots artists

© DC ThomsonAt an event earlier this year, Angus artist James Morrison R.S.A, R.S.W, with his painting Catterline Boats with (from left), Gordon Ritchie,  Dave Ramsay, Ann Keddie and pupils Lily Buchanan, Cameron Ramsay, Hannah Boggon and Magnus Gowland.
At an event earlier this year, Angus artist James Morrison R.S.A, R.S.W, with his painting Catterline Boats with (from left), Gordon Ritchie, Dave Ramsay, Ann Keddie and pupils Lily Buchanan, Cameron Ramsay, Hannah Boggon and Magnus Gowland.

A leading Scots artist whose fans include Royals and J K Rowling has returned to the Mearns village to which he gifted one of his paintings more than half a century ago.

James Morrison’s image of Catterline boats was presented to the local primary in the early 1960s when he lived in the coastal community after graduating from Glasgow School of Art.

The Glasgow-born artist, now 86, founded the Glasgow group of artists in 1957, along with Anda Paterson and James Spence, and is an academician of the Royal Scottish Academy and member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.

Mr Morrison was a lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone before leaving the Dundee establishment to pursue a full-time art career in 1987 and his gift to Catterline has now been marked with a rededication of the painting as another strand in the effort to highlight the local link to another famous artist, Joan Eardley.

Mr Morrison was visiting artist at the Patrick Allan Fraser College of Art at Hospitalfield Arbroath from 1963 to 1964, an honour also enjoyed by famous artistic names including Eardley, Lil Neilson, and Angus Neil.

© DC Thomson
Mr Morrison spoke to Catterline primary pupils about his career

Earlier this year, Eardley was the subject of another special village event honouring an artist whose work was featured in a 2017 exhibition at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art.

A Scottish heritage plaque marking her connection to the village is now on the wall of the Creel Inn, where one of her original paintings also gifted to Catterline still hangs.

Mr Morrison lived and worked in Catterline until moving to Montrose in 1965 and the pier artwork was a gift to the community for which he held such affection.

The acknowledgement project came about as a joint venture between Gordon Ritchie of Stonehaven Heritage Society and Dave Ramsay of Mearns Heritage services.

Dave said: “At a recent school event, Gordon pointed out that not many people realised the painting in the school hall was by James Morrison and had been gifted to the community.

“Following on from the award by Historic Scotland of the Joan Eardley memorial plaque in January, it seemed right to acknowledge James Morrison and his gift to the community, and to ensure that the background to the painting and person, is shared with pupils, parents, and future generations.”

Invited guests and pupils from the school heard James describe his painting, career and time in Catterline.

Mr Ramsay continued: “Another interesting connection was that Annette Soper – the first ‘Catterline artist’ who was responsible for introducing Joan Eardley to the village – married local fisherman Jim Stephen, and his boat, The Hopeful, is on the right hand side of the James Morrison painting.”

Beside a plaque commemorating Mr Morrison’s gift sits his letter of tribute to Joan Eardley following her death in 1963.

“It is noteworthy that Catterline is privileged to have such fine art work gifted to the community by these artists, as a measure of their connection and love of this special clifftop village,” added Mr Ramsay.

Mr Ritchie said: “For many years, I had admired this painting in the school,without realising it was by James Morrison, and I am delighted that the Society was able to help in this project.”

Breaking