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14. Kildonan

14. Kildonan

14. Kildonan

Artists who worked here:

14. Kildonan / Cille Donnain

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14. Kildonan

Kildonan village looks south to the islands of Pladda, the distinctive volcanic rock of Ailsa Craig, and Ireland beyond. To the west are the distinctive cliffs of Bennan head and the site of the Black Cave, the largest on the island. Used by prehistoric man, arrow heads and flint have been found inside its walls, as has evidence of its use for religious services.


Kildonan, which takes its name from St Donan (Saint Donnán, the Patron saint of the Isle of Eigg), is also home to Kildonan castle, a ruin which was once a royal seat, and in its final years a possession of the Hamilton family before it was sacked and destroyed by the Earl of Sussex in the mid 16th century. Kildonan also contains a number of fine buildings, the most impressive of which, Drimla Lodge was built in the 1890s using the colonial red brick style.


Farming still plays an important role in the area, with the landscape of the south of the island retaining an unspoiled rustic charm which particularly attracted artists during the 19th and 20th century. These included Sir DY Cameron, John Robertson Reid, Sir James Lawton Wingate and many others.

James McLachlan Nairn (1859-1904), one of a group of influential Glasgow artists known as 'The Glasgow Boys' painted several works in Kildonan, which are perhaps the finest examples of landscapes from this part of the island. The Glasgow Boys, a collection of artists who developed a style which explored impressionism with an emphasis on naturalism and realism, worked across Scotland, and their distinctive approach is visible in Nairn’s ‘Kildonan’ of 1886 and his ‘Auchenhew, Arran’painted in the same year.


Born in Glasgow, Nairn would study at Glasgow School of Art, later spending time at the Académie Julian in Paris, returning to Scotland. For a decade he would paint and exhibit alongside the Glasgow Boys before emigrating from Scotland to New Zealand in 1890, later settling in Wellington. 


Featured Artist  

Nairn, James McLachlan

James McLachlan Nairn (1859-1904), one of a group of influential Glasgow artists known as 'The Glasgow Boys' painted several works in Kildonan, which are perhaps the finest examples of landscapes from this part of the island. The Glasgow Boys, a collection of artists who developed a style which explored impressionism with an emphasis on naturalism and realism, worked across Scotland, and their distinctive approach is visible in Nairn’s ‘Kildonan’ of 1886 and his ‘Auchenhew, Arran’painted in the same year.


Born in Glasgow, Nairn would study at Glasgow School of Art, later spending time at the Académie Julian in Paris, returning to Scotland. For a decade he would paint and exhibit alongside the Glasgow Boys before emigrating from Scotland to New Zealand in 1890, later settling in Wellington. While not as well known in his native Scotland, Nairn is an important figure in the development of painting in New Zealand, largely due to his role as a lecturer at Wellington Technical School where he introduced contemporary European styles to his students. He also exhibited widely through the islands, with his "Wellington Harbour, 1894" one of many influential works.  A member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, 


Nairn would unfortunately die at home at the age of 44 either of peritonitis, or of falling ill while doing the activity he loved most – painting outdoors. Appropriately his marker on the trail faces south, towards his new home and final resting place.


Bibliography


James McLauchlan [i.e. McLachlan] Nairn: a catalogue of works by Victoria Hearnshaw. Published by Hocken Library in association with the Research Centre for New Zealand Studies, University of Otago, 1997. ISBN: 0902041665.


Nairn and his associates. Selected from works in the collection of the National Art Gallery by G. Packwood. Catalogue of an exhibition held at and published by National Art Gallery of New Zealand, Wellington.


References


https://www.artbiogs.co.uk/1/artists/nairn-james-mclachlan