Mackays Art

Jacobite Stramash

Jacobite Stramash is a captivating painting by Chris Rutterford that reimagines an event from history. It transports us back to a lively moment 280 years ago when Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army was on a celebratory escapade. On the 17th of September, 1745, just before daybreak, the soldiers surged through Edinburgh’s Netherbow Gate, which once divided the bustling High Street from the historic Canongate.
In this vibrant depiction, we witness the revelry of the Jacobite forces, their spirits high as they celebrated their triumph. The scene captures the essence of that pivotal time, blending history with artistic flair. Imagine the clinking of tankards, the laughter, and the camaraderie as they revelled in their victory.
Rutterford’s work breathes life into this moment, allowing us to glimpse the past through a colourful lens. It’s a reminder that history isn’t just about dates and battles; it’s also about the people, their emotions, and the shared experiences that shape our collective memory.
And perhaps, in the midst of this Jacobite Stramash, we find echoes of our own celebrations, our own moments of victory and camaraderie, woven into the fabric of time.

Tam o’ Shanter

Chris Rutterford’s depiction of Rabbie Burn’s epic poem follows Tam from the haunted church to his eventual escape over the River Doon.
The poem describes the habits of Tam (a Scots nickname for Thomas), a farmer who often gets drunk with his friends in a public house in the Scottish town of Ayr, and his thoughtless ways, specifically towards his wife, who waits at home for him. At the conclusion of one such late-night revel, after a market day, Tam rides home on his horse Meg while a storm is brewing. On the way he sees the local haunted church lit up, with witches and warlocks dancing and the Devil playing the bagpipes. He is still drunk, still upon his horse, just on the edge of the light, watching, amazed to see the place bedecked with many gruesome things such as gibbet irons and knives that had been used to commit murders. The music intensifies as the witches are dancing and, upon seeing one particularly wanton witch in a short dress, Tam loses his reason and shouts, ‘Weel done, cutty-sark!’ (“cutty-sark”: short shirt). Immediately, the lights go out, the music and dancing stop, and many of the creatures lunge after Tam, with the witches leading. Tam spurs Meg to turn and flee and drives the horse on towards the River Doon as the creatures dare not cross a running stream. The creatures give chase and the witches come so close to catching Tam and Meg that they pull Meg’s tail off just as she reaches the Brig o’ Doon.