Gentry Links


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Alastair Loudon, has delved into the mind of the artist, Charles Lees, to uncover the stories of the gentlemen whom he featured in 1847 in one of the most famous paintings in sport – The Golfers.

The book has been beautifully crafted by one of Edinburgh’s top book designers, to illustrate the many images kindly made available by the National Galleries of Scotland and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, from their respective permanent collections.

Through an analysis of the artist’s methodology, the creation of this masterpiece can be traced from the earliest photograph in golf, to two sketches, and to what is known as The Finished Sketch.

The painting reflects a fascinating social history of Scotland, at a time that it had been transformed from a near bankrupt country in 1707 to a country with wealth to invest overseas in the middle of the nineteenth century: a country strongly influenced by Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville.

The Golfers is an amazing tapestry of interwoven stories and a celebration of the game of golf at a critical moment of its development from a game of the gentry to the popular game for which Scotland is famous as the Home of Golf.

The author identifies the metaphors used by the artist to tell the story of a royal and ancient game, using the Great Man theory developed contemporaneously by Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle.

By detailed examination of the biographies of 50 characters, it becomes apparent that the story is principally about three golfing regions in Scotland, St Andrews, East Lothian and Perth, with links to the earliest migration of the game of golf to England.

Alastair is very honoured that Sir Michael Bonallack kindly wrote the Foreword for this book.