Picturing Scotland – Hamish MacDonald

Ahead of the Scottish Contemporary Art Auction on Sunday 15 April, Specialist, Jenny Macleod, takes a closer look at the work of Hamish Macdonald (1935 – 2008).

Scotland has a long history of landscape painting. From the bombastic and nationalistic panoramas of the eighteenth century to William McTaggart’s (1835 – 1910) wild, impressionistic coastlines, Scotland’s uncontrollable and untamed landscapes have continued to provide inspiration to artists for centuries.

The work of Glasgow-born artist, Hamish Macdonald carries on this strong tradition of landscape painting, and this month we are delighted to offer for sale five very different interpretations of his modern Scotland.

A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, MacDonald pursued what would become a long and distinguished career in art education whilst nurturing his artistic development and reputation through solo shows up and down the country. Inspired by the expressive works of Joan Eardley (1921 – 1963), MacDonald captured a vivid, atmospheric Scotland in a vein which has been likened to the Scottish Colourists and Sir William Gillies (1898 – 1973).

Farm at Pirnmill, Arran (lot 12) is a calming and romantic composition with a soft palette, yet MacDonald’s confident and effortless brushwork evokes the sense of a brooding and unsettled day.  MacDonald captured Arran repeatedly throughout his career and this is a strong example of his work. Proceeds from the sale of this lot, which carries an auction estimate of £1,000 – 2,000, will be donated to the Beatson Cancer Charity.

We see MacDonald’s use of a muted palette again in lot 37, but this time the composition is much more dramatic. Scotland’s unpredictable and rugged nature is characterised by his use of collage and this piece is reminiscent of Eardley’s elemental Catterline landscapes. Evening Landscape carries an auction estimate of £1,500–2,500

MacDonald was a master of watercolour and lot 32 is a wonderful example of the fluid and vivid compositions which are favoured by collectors. Exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1972, this lot carries excellent provenance and is sure to be much admired on the view. Blue Landscape Surfaces I carries an auction estimate of £500–1,000.

In addition to these original works, we also have for sale two limited edition lithographic prints of Arbroath Harbour and Beach Loch Carron. These prints have proved very popular amongst collectors, which is a testament to his accolade as one of Scotland’s most successful contemporary artists. Lots 101 and 103 are offered at attractive estimates of £150–250 each.

McTear’s have generated strong hammer prices for McDonald’s work; most recently with the energetic mixed media, Blue Boats which saw a hammer of £3,400 in the last Scottish Contemporary Art Auction (lot 13).


To view the full auction catalogue please click here >>



Thursday 12 April | 9.00am to 5pm

Friday 13 April | 9.00am to 2.30pm

Saturday 14 April | 9.30am to 12pm

Sunday 15 April | 11.30am to 1pm



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