The presence of the visual arts at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig took a further step forward recently following the donation of a Peter Howson portrait of the late and internationally respected poet, Sorley Maclean, a key influential figure in the college’s own early history. The portrait, which will form part of Sabhal Mor’s growing permanent collection, was presented to the college’s Director, Prof Norman Gillies, at a special dinner held at the college last week. The portrait was donated to Sabhal Mòr by Lord Macdonald of Tradeston who, during his time as a Chief Executive at STV, commissioned the work to mark and celebrate a major STV series featuring the work of a number of contemporary Scottish poets.

In accepting the gift on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Prof Gillies said,

“We are delighted to accept this very generous gift from Lord Gus Macdonald, who is a long time friend and supporter of this college and who also of course has very strong family ties with this part of Skye.  Sorley MacLean was one of the great poets of the 20th century and his profound and inspiring influence on the international literary world placed the Gaelic language and culture firmly within the context of his international vision. He will forever be an inspiring and iconic figure for the Gaels and as a former ‘writer in residence’ at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, occupies a very special place at the heart of this institution”

howson2Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Director of Development and Chair of the Visual Arts Group, Donnie Munro said following the presentation,

 “This generous gift is particularly apposite in bringing together two significant strands of our cultural inheritance, the literary and the visual. Peter Howson is an artist with an international reputation and this work will add significantly to the development of a strong contextual visual arts archive here at Sabhal Mòr.”

The dinner was also attended by members of the Sorley Maclean Trust, Clan Donald, senior staff and friends of Sabhal Mòr, along with members of Lord Macdonald of Tradeston’s own family on Skye.
The work will take its place in the college’s permanent collection which features 2 other portraits of the Poet, by artists Sandy Moffat, RSA and Peter Edwards.