1. Brodick / Breadhaig
Listen to Gaelic translation
Brodick is the first place that most visitors land on the Isle of Arran, and serves as a fine introduction to the island. The main village, it is home to a castle, shops, museum, golf course, hotels and views along the broad bay (breda-vick in Norse) which gives it its name.
The view to Goat Fell, which towers above the bay, is perhaps one of the most memorable in Arran. The mountain which dominates the skyline over Brodick can rightly be called iconic, and its presence has been depicted by many artists over the years as well as royalty - Queen Victoria painted it on a trip to Scotland in 1847.
No artist captured Goat Fell quite like that of Royal Academician Craigie Aitchison (1926 -2009) however. With his palette of bright and playful colours, and his fascination with religious scenes such as the Crucifixion, the well known outline of the peak would appear in his work many times.
A regular visitor to the island during family holidays in the 1930s, and then later from the 70s onwards, Craigie would also paint other familiar scenes such as the Holy Isle, yet it was Goat Fell which became one of the recurrent and enduring motifs in his work. Today his paintings hang in galleries across the world, with some of his Arran inspired pieces in the collections of the Tate and Scottish National Galleries among many others.
Craigie Aitchison 1926–2009 was born in Edinburgh and grew up in Dunbartonshire and on Arran. He studied law but abandoned this career and entered the Slade School of Art in London in 1952. During his second year at the Slade, he won the prize for the best still life and two years later he was awarded the British Council Italian Government Scholarship to Rome. Here Aitchison was inspired by the landscape and religious art but most profoundly affected by the light, which influenced him to begin producing his signature richly-coloured paintings. His paintings are renowned for their sparse but balanced composition and for the use of intense, pure and flatly-applied colour.
His subject matter included still lifes, portraiture and landscape, though he was particularly associated with religious paintings and his depictions of the Crucifixion form a major part of his artistic output.
Aitchison’s first one man show was in 1959 at the Beaux Arts Gallery in London. He made a home for himself in London but in 1970 returned to Arran, for the first time since childhood holidays, to scatter his mother’s ashes on the same site as his father’s. The island’s pyramid-like peak was to be an important addition to his repertoire of shapes. Shortly after, he made his first encounter with the Bedlington Terrier at Crufts and was smitten. Both Arran and the Bedlingtons would appear in Aitchison’s crucifixions.
He exhibited overseas in Tokyo (1969), Delhi (1984) and Jerusalem (1992) and in the UK including a retrospective at the Serpentine (1981-2), a solo exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow (1996), the Museum of Modern Art, Powys (2001), and the Royal Academy, London (2003), of which he had become a full academician in 1988. He was awarded the Jerwood Prize in 1994 and in 1998 completed a commission for Liverpool Cathedral. He was made a CBE in 1999. In his last decade he was represented by both Timothy Taylor gallery and Waddington galleries, a mark of both his popularity and resistance to categorisation.
He died in 2009 in London. His works are in the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland, the Tate Gallery in London, and the National Museum Wales in Cardiff, among others.