Wee bit Basquiat.
These were painted using Casein paint – which is made from milk and/or cheese
Some work by Andrew Gilbert, who was a year above me in college, and been based in Berlin for around 10 years.
Dr. Thomas Keith (1827 – 1895) was a gynecologist from St. Cyrus in the North East of Scotland. He was also, for a short period of approximately 3 years (during the summer months, and before 7am and after 4pm each day) a very accomplished photographer, who took some lovely photos of Edinburgh, and Iona, principally of architecture.
There was another ‘Thomas Keith’ born slightly earlier than the Doctor (1793 – 1815) who during his very short life of 22 years followed a very different course. He was a soldier in the 78th Highlanders (seemingly enlisting at the age of 11….) with whom he fought in Sicily, before travelling to Egypt, where he was captured near Rosetta. He, and a drummer from the regiment (William Thompson) were then purchased by a man called Ahmad Aga. He (and William) then converted to Islam, and changed his name to Ibrahim Aga. He then fought for Muhammad Ali Pasha’s son Tusun Pasha, against the Wahhabi of Arabia. In 1815 he was made governor of Medina during Tusun’s absence, and died later that year during an ambush.
The portrait of Dr. Thomas Keith below, was painted by William Skeoch Cumming. Cumming (1864 – 1929) was also a soldier, in the 19th Company Imperial Yeomanry (and later The Scottish Horse). He served during the Boer War, were he recorded many incidents in watercolour, and also took a number of photographs. His painting career was focused on military painting and historical painting, though he also apparently completed some large tapestries. It seems likely that he knew Thomas Keith through some sort of photographic social circles.
Skeoch is an odd name, I’ve never heard it before. Up in the north east, near Lunan Bay, there are the remains of a 12th century church called the Chapel of St. Skay, which is an alternative spelling to Skeoch (as is Skae). St Skeoch is thought to have been one of St Columba’s 12 disciples, who built the chapel above the shore near Elephant Rock (a big rock that looks like an elephant). There is little remaining, if anything of this chapel, but there were found 3 stones that had been incised with crosses, believed to be from early medieval times. Just up the hill from the chapel is some land called “Withie-hill” which means place of execution. Nearby is the beautiful beach of Lunan Bay and the old limekiln at Boddin Point. This is approximately 7 miles from St Cyrus, the birthplace of Dr. Thomas Keith.
I read a bit about James Gillray in Simon Schama’s “Citizens”, so looked him up – I realised that his illustrations were already known to me, as archetypal satirical expressions of the 18th/19th century. He was brilliant. But he was an ill man who jumped out of windows.
I decorated a ready-made cardboard wendy-house for my neice’s Christmas.
make a gif