The Grand Match at Linlithgow Loch; Charles Lees; 1849; PA008


Scottish Curling Trust


The Grand Match at Linlithgow Loch

About this object

This painting belongs to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and is held on behalf of its membership.

The Grand Match at Linlithgow Loch is without doubt Charles Lees' greatest masterpiece and one of the most important sporting paintings of its period. Painted in 1848/9 at the height of the sport's popularity, it is among the most well-known images of curling and a pictorial "Who's Who" of the most prominent men in Scotland in the mid-19th Century.

In 1880 the provenance of the painting lay with Mr Charles Cowan, and with the financial assistance of Mr James Law of the Scotsman newspaper, it was purchased by the Committee of Management of the Royal Caledonian Curling Curling Club in 1898. It has remained the property of the RCCC ever since, hanging in many locations, including the Royal Scottish Academy.

Over the years the painting has had many 'homes' in an effort to keep it readily accessible to the Scottish Public. The Old Perth Ice Rink, Edinburgh Fine Art Society Gallery, Coates Crescent, Great King Street and Scone Palace have all 'hosted' the painting since its RCCC ownership.

Regrettably, time and circumstance have taken their toll. The condition of the frame is described at best as 'fair' whereas the condition of the painting itself is described by restorers as 'poor to fair', although the paint surface appears to be physically sound.

During the 2013/14 season, after a successful fundraising effort from the Scottish Curling Trust, the RCCC have had the painting extensively restored.

The painting is now on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh as part of the ‘Playing for Scotland: The Making of Modern Sport' exhibition, in Gallery 10 on the second floor. Admission is free and the gallery will be open daily from 10am to 5pm (7pm on Thursdays).


Charles Lees

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