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In 1870, "Mr Mitchell, Publisher to the Queen"  produced two large leatherbound volumes of  magnificient watercolour portraits by Kenneth Macleay RSA. Measuring a massive 22 x 18 inches (57 x 47cms) they contain 31 portraits of 57 individuals described as below:

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 They are without doubt the most detailed portraits of Highland dress and tartans from that era and are highly prized as research tools and, of course, as portraits for today's homes. The original water colours are owned  by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and held in Windsor Castle.

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We're lucky enough at the Tartans Authority to have copies of these very valuable books and are thus able to offer giclée prints of all the featured portraits.

Once you've admired MacLeay's wonderful artistry, read the fascinating details of all the sitters that help to bring the portraits 'alive.

Click on the thumbnails below for enlargements.

M1 - Trousers. John Grant, Her Majesty's Head Keeper at Balmoral. Loch-na-Gar, Aberdeenshire - A detail from the William Ross print.. M2 - Plain kilt. John Brown, Her Majesty's Personal Servant. Osborne. M3 - Royal Stewart William Ross, Her Majesty's Piper. Windsor Castle. M4 - Plain kilt. Archibald Anderson Brown, His Royal Highness Prince Leopold's Valet. Balmoral Castle. M5 - Royal Stewart. Donald Stewart & Charles Duncan Her Majesty's Keepers at Balmoral. Valley of the Dee, Aberdeenshire. M6 - MacDonald of Sleat. Archibald Fraser MacDonald, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales' Jager. Corrie of Loch-na-Gar.M7 - Duke of Rothesay. William MacDonald, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Piper. Abergeldie Castle. M8 - Balmoral James Morgan. Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein's Servant. Wilds of Deeside. M9 - Campbell. Colin Campbell, Argyllman & John Campbell, Breadalbaneman. Loch Fyne, Argyleshire. M10 - Chisholm & Cameron. John Chisholm , Colin Stewart Cameron & John Cameron. Loch Arkaig, Inverness-shire. M11 - Drummond/Grant & Murray of Tullibardine. Duncan Drummond and Andrew Murray. Strathnairn (Strathearn?), Perthshire. M12 - Farquharson. James Bowman & William Brown. Men of Colonel Farquharson. Forest of Invercauld, Aberdeenshire. M13 - Forbes. Charles MacHardy & John Michie. Men of Sir Charles Forbes. Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. M14 - Gordon. Donald Gordon The Hills above Abergeldie. M15 - Grant & Fraser. John Grant & John Fraser. Strathspey, Invernesshire. M16 - MacDonalds. Farquhar MacDonald & Lachlan MacDonald. The Cuchullin Range, Isle of Skye, looking west from Sleat. M17 - MacDonald of Keppoch. Angus MacDonell. . Corries of Unach Mor, Invernesshire. M18 - Macduff. James Lamont & William MacHardie. . Men of the Duke of Fife. Battlements of Highland Castle. M19 - MacGregor, Rob Roy. Duncan MacGregor. Loch Earn Head and Stuck-a-Shron, from Glen Ogle, Perthshire. M20 - MacIntosh. Archibald & Alexander MacIntosh. Strathnairn, Invernesshire. M21 - MacKenzie. Kenneth & Thomas MacKenzie. Loch Duich, West coast of Rosshire, with Eilean Donan Castle and Tulloch Ard. M22 - MacLachlan, Grahame, MacFarlane & Colquhoun. John MacLachlan, Hugh Grahame, James MacFarlane and Angus Colquhoun. Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond from Luss. M23 - MacLeod & MacNeill. Neil MacLeod & Murdoch MacNeill. The Cuchullins, Isle of Skye, looking south-east from Dunvegan. M24 - MacNab & Macnaughton. Robert MacNab & Donald Macnaughton. Ben More & Stob-an-Ean, Glen Dochart, Perthshire. M25 - MacPherson Htg & MacPherson Dress. Ewen & Lachlan MacPherson.. Craig Dhu on the Spey, Badenoch, Invernesshire. M26 - MacSween & MacAulay. Kenneth MacSween & Donald MacAulay. West coast of Harris. M27 - Menzies Htg (Green) & Menzies Dress. Alexander & James Menzies. Castle Menzie, Strath Tay, Perthshire. M28 - Munro, MacDougall, MacLean. Donald Munro, Archibald MacDougall & Lachlan MacLean. Dunnollie Castle and Hills of Morvern. M29 - Murray of Atholl. Donald MacBeath & Willam Duff. Atholemen. . The Tay at Dunkeld, Perthshire. M30 - Robertson, Stewart. John Robertson and John Stewart. Loch Rannoch, Perthshire. M31 - Sutherland, Mackay. Sgt. James Sutherland, Adam Sutherland & Neil MacKay. Ben Laoghail with the Kyle of Tongue, Sutherlandshire.

 

 

 

 Kenneth Macleay RSA

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These 31 paintings of McLeay's are without doubt the most detailed portraits of the period showing in astonishing detail, the individuals, their Highland dress and - most importantly - the tartans they wore.

Victorian lithography has never been surpassed and the prints in the books are of such quality that they look as if they were McLeay's originals.

Kenneth McLeay was born in Oban, Scotland in 1802 and studied at the trustees' Academy in Edinburgh  He was a Foundation Associate Member of the Scottish Academy and became RSA from 1839

He was chiefly a watercolour portrait painter, producing both miniature  and full size portraits and is recorded as a portrait painter in the Edinburgh trade directories from 1822 until 1878, living at twelve different addresses over this period. 

He exhibited photographs in many of the PSS Exhibitions from 1856 to 1864 and also became a professional photographer from 1859 to 1863.

 

 Below: details from a few of the portraits.

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Buy any of these prints now

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