Work of war artist set to go on show in Raasay Gallery

Trinty Square, London, with ruins of London Wall. 1948. By William John MacLeod. Courtesy of Government Art Collection.

By Adam Gordon

An exhibition showcasing the paintings of a WW1 and senior restoration artist whose work included restoration projects at Kensington Palace and Chequers is to open at the Raasay Gallery next week.

William John MacLeod (1891-1970) was born in Kirkcaldy and studied at the Glasgow School of Art before going on to win a scholarship at the Old Monastery, Hospital Fields in Arbroath where he trained in the ‘Old Masters’ style of painting.

After two years of training, Mr. MacLeod left to fight as a volunteer in WW1 but was invalided and subsequently spent 10 years in recovery. During part of that period, he worked as a war artist, where he used his expertise to document the bomb-damaged Houses of Parliament, which he captured in eleven of his paintings. The Fife-born creator then became senior restoration artist, which led to him undertaking work including preparation for the reopening of Greenwich Naval College and the restoration of the ceiling of Chapter House, Westminster.

Mr. MacLeod’s daughter Margaret Moodie, who lives on Raasay close to where his work will be exhibited, told the Free Press that the exhibition would be a welcome tribute to the work of her father: “He received the Imperial Service Medal, but he wasn’t one to talk or make a fuss about these things. It will be wonderful to have the chance to see his paintings hung up there, thanks to Christa and Gordon at the gallery who have done a fantastic job.

Gordon J Cheape, who runs the Raasay Gallery with his partner Christa, said he had been impressed by the calibre of Mr. MacLeod work: “I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but they are very attractive paintings, there is one large oil painting in particular which is really amazing, and the colours are quite something.

“There will be 22 paintings in the exhibition – 10 watercolours and 12 oil paintings – a few of the oil paintings depict the damage to the Palace of Westminster, while some of his beautiful watercolours, I believe, capture the colours of Fife where he was from.”

An opening for the exhibition at Raasay Gallery will be held on Thursday 5th April between 5 pm and 7 pm.  The exhibition will run from Friday 6th April to Saturday 28th April, from Tuesdays to Saturdays between 11 am and 5.30 pm.