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Famous Fifers

From first glance, there is something special and unique about any painting created by globally renowned artist Jack Vettriano, OBE, and which automatically seems unlike anything else.original paintings now regularly command six figure purchase prices but he is thought to earn far more via the sale of popular reproductions. According to one estimate, he now earns about half a million a year in print royalties. His most popular work, the 'Singing Butler' illustrated on this page sells more posters and postcards than any other artist in the United Kingdom. On 21 April 2004, the original canvas of 'The Singing Butler' sold at auction for £744,500 and in sharp contrast when Vettriano painted the picture and submitted it for inclusion in the Royal Academy summer show in 1992. On that occassion, the painting was rejected for inclusion.

Born as Jack Hoggan on the 17th November 1951, he grew up in the coastal town of Methil in Fife and where coal extraction and manufacturingwere the main industries. He left school at 16 and later became an apprentice mining engineer.

In the 1970s, serendipity played a hand when a girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his twenty-first birthday. His earlisest work, appearing under his birth name of Jack Hoggan were copies of pastiche of impressionist works. His first painting was a copy of Monet's 'Poppy Fields' and where subsequent influences may have come from studying paintings at the Museum and Art Gallery in Kirkcaldy.

In 1988, he submitted two canvases for the Royal Scottish Academy annual show. Both paintings sold on the first day and Vettriano was approached by several galleries who wanted to sell his other work. He moved to Edinburgh, changing his name to Vettriano, adding an "a" to his mother's maiden name. Further successful exhibitions followed in Edinburhg, London, Hong Kong, and Johannesbrgh in South Africa.

In November 1999, Vettriano’s work was shown for the first time in New York, when twenty-one paintings were displayed at The International 20th Century Arts Fair at The Armory. More than forty collectors from the UK flew out for the event and all twenty-one paintings were sold on the opening night to British collectors. Jack Nicholson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Tim Rice and Robbie Coltrane are known to be avid collectors of his work. During the following decade, Vettriano's work  became more more apreciated on a global scale.

In February 2009, Vettriano launched his own publishing company, 'Heartbreak Publishing' designed to publish and promote work by other artists and to distribute his own published works directly to his fans and collectors.

On 27th March 2010, 'Days Of Wine And Roses', was opened by Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, at the Kirkcaldy Museum in Fife and received more than 48,000 visitors during its five week run there. The exhibition then transferred to Heartbreak, in London.

On Wednesday, 24th March 2010, Sir Jackie Stewart presented Vettriano with the 'Great Scot Of  The Year Award'. The award ceremony was held at the Boisedale Club in London and other nominees included Kirsty Young, Sharleen Spiteri, Ian Rankin and Kenny Logan.

In December 2010, Vettriano was asked by First Minister, Alex Salmond, to create his official Christmas card which would be sold at a prestigious auction for the benefit of four Scottish charities. Mr Salmond had selected Bethany Christian Trust, Quarriers and Teenage Cancer Trust with Vettriano selecting Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres. The painting, "Let’s Twist Again" was unveiled for the first time at an event at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh on Monday, December 6th). The canvas features a festive image of a glamorous couple dancing at a Christmas party. "Let's Twist Again" was then auctioned at an exclusive auction in February at The Old Course Hotel in St.Andrews with the First Minister attending. With the painting and Limited Edition sales combined, just under £100,000 was raised for the four charities.

The philanthropic undertakings by Jack Vettriano extends further. In January 2008 Vettriano donated a painting, 'Study For Bluebird At Bonneville', to a charity auction at the London Art Fair to raise funds for the Terrence Higgins Trust. The painting was sold for £32,000 and was the highest achieving lot of the night.

In 2004, Vettriano set up a scholarship for St Andrews University to fund a student who would not be able to attend university otherwise. The scholarship is awarded every four years, the first recipient of which began their studies in September 2004. The endowment follows his financial contribution towards refurbishing the Students Association's Old Union Coffee Bar in 2002 and his involvement in student fashion shows. He was made a Doctor of Letters by the university.

Brevity forbides detailed listing of the many contributions and efforts Jack Vettriano has made in his life and affecting so many others in a positive fashion. Divorced from his first wife, Vettriano divides his time between homes in London, Kirkcaldy and Nice in France. In 2004, he was awarded the OBE. In closing, and looking across the office, I can see a print copy of the 'Singing Butler!'

John Henry Lorimer was born on the 12th August 1856 and a son to James Lorimar who was Regius Professor of Public Law at Edinburgh University from 1862 to 1890.

John Hendry was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Edinburgh University and at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1875 and where he was taught by McTaggart and Chalmers. This was followed by a period in Paris studying with Carolus-Duran.

In his life, Lorimer travelled throughout Spain, Italy and Algeirs between 1877 and 1891. He exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy from 1878. Significant amongst his works are 'The Ordination Of Elders In A Scottish Kirk' which hangs in the National Gallery Of Scotland and the 'Peaceful Art And Kellie Castle Garden' of which the latter is important and was sold at auction in 2000 for £32,900.

In 1878, the Lorimer family acquired the lease of Kellie Castle in Fife and began its restoration for use as a holiday home. This later became the permanent family home after outright purchase in 1948 by Robert Lorimer's son, the sculptor Hew Lorimar. Today, the castle is owned by the National Trust for Scotland who maintain a changing exhibition of his works, plus those of his brother.

From a personal viewpoint of this author, his painting of a scene allegedly at Newark Castle has left a great impression and yet cannot be found in current times. John Hendry Lorimar died on 4th November 1936 and was buried in the small cemetary at Easter Coates in Fife.


The painting shown is that of the Ordination of Senior Clerics in Scotland.


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