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Lot 1519 (The Scottish Pictures Auction, 14th December 2016)

Sold for £2,800


OLIVE CARLETON SMYTH (SCOTTISH 1880 - 1933), CATHLIN CLUTHA AGUS OSCAR pen, ink and heightened with gold on vellum, signed 20.5cm x 25cm Mounted, framed and under glass. Notes: This drawing shows Cathlin Clutha with Oscar. Cath'lin of Clu'tha, daughter of Cathmol. Duth-Carmor of Cluba had slain Cathmol in battle, and carried off Cathlin by force, but she contrived to make her escape and craved aid of Fingal. Ossian and Oscar were selected to espouse her cause, and when they reached Rathcol (where Duth-Carmor lived), Ossian re- signed the command of the battle to his son Oscar. Oscar and Duth-Carmor met in combat, and the latter fell. The victor carried the mail and helmet of Duth-Carmor to Cathlin, and Cathlin said, '' Take the mail and place it high in Selma's hall, that you may remember the helpless in a distant land.'' OSSIAN is the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson from 1760. Macpherson claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in Gaelic, said to be from ancient sources, and that the work was his translation of that material. Ossian is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a legendary bard who is a character in Irish mythology. Contemporary critics were divided in their view of the work's authenticity, but the consensus since is that Macpherson framed the poems himself, based on old folk tales he had collected. The work was internationally popular, translated into all the literary languages of Europe and was influential both in the development of the Romantic movement and the Gaelic revival. Olive Carleton Smyth trained at Glasgow School of Art between 1900 and 1909 as a fresco decorator and artist. She was an early tutor at the School and was recruited by Francis (Fra) Newbery in 1902 while still a student. She was appointed Head Of Design at the GSA in 1933. Her work rarely appears at auction but 'PYTHEUS BUYS AMBER' a tempera and gold paint on vellum (34 by 40cm., 13¼ by 15½in) sold at Sotheby's, London 13.10.2012 lot 136 for £43,250 (premium). Smythe's work has a theatrical quality, reflecting her interest in theatre, and her influences included the Ballets Russes, with its dramatic themes, colours and costumes.

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