Plaque acknowledges artist’s Catterline gift

Left to right, Francis Crabb,  Gordon Ritchie, secretary of Stonehaven Heritage Society, Dave Ramsay, of Mearns Heritage Services, Douglas Cusine, chair of Stonehaven Heritage Society, and head teacher Melanie Fowler and some of the pupils
Left to right, Francis Crabb, Gordon Ritchie, secretary of Stonehaven Heritage Society, Dave Ramsay, of Mearns Heritage Services, Douglas Cusine, chair of Stonehaven Heritage Society, and head teacher Melanie Fowler and some of the pupils

A plaque has been unveiled at Catterline School acknowledging a painting gifted to the community by Scots artist James Morrison.

The painting was rededicated in his presence at a ceremony in the school in June.

And the plaque went on display at a special assembly held on Monday.

In 1961, the artist presented a painting of Catterline pier to the primary as a mark of his friendship with the then teachers Margaret and Alf Dutch.

Gordon Ritchie, secretary of Stonehaven Heritage Society, noted at a school event the local and historic importance of the painting, which led to a joint venture between the heritage society and Dave Ramsay, of Mearns Heritage Services, to mark an important part of community heritage.

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

“Had it not been for Gordon, this story could have been lost for all time.

“Following on from the award by Historic Scotland of the Joan Eardley memorial plaque in January, 2018, it seemed right to acknowledge James Morrison and his gift to the community, and to ensure that the background to the painting and person, was shared with pupils, parents, and future generations.”

The painting - the image of two Catterline boats - was reframed through Stonehaven Heritage Society sponsorship and the rededication followed.

James Morrison lived and painted in the village in the early 60s along with Joan Eardley, Annette Soper, Lil Neilson and other Catterline artists.

The plaque was commissioned and sponsored by Stonehaven Heritage Society and was unveiled this week by Douglas Cusine, the society’s chair, and secretary Gordon Ritchie.

It provides a biography of James, and also his letter of tribute for Joan Eardley, after her death in 1963, and now hangs alongside his painting, with a photograph of the artist at the rededication ceremony.

Annette Soper was Catterline’s first artist and introduced Joan Eardley to the village.

Annette married local fisherman Jim Stephen, and his boat “The Hopeful” is one of the vessels featured in the Morrison painting.

The Hopeful was built at Cowie around 1908 for Bowden Stephen of Catterline at a cost of £1 per foot.

The other boat in the painting is The Linfall.