About this artwork

Fionn MacColla was the pen name of the writer Thomas Douglas MacDonald. He was born and brought up in Montrose, where he became acquainted with Hugh MacDiarmid who edited the 'Montrose Review' from 1919 to 1929. In 1928, MacColla and the artist Edward Baird, both passionate Scottish patriots, joined the newly founded National Party of Scotland. Baird wrote that this was his “attempt to paint a modern and distinctively Scottish portrait” and that both he and the sitter had “a sense of being part of a re-vivified Scottish Culture”.

Edward MacEwan Baird

Edward MacEwan Baird

Baird was born in Montrose in 1904 and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1924 to 1927. He became a close friend of James McIntosh Patrick, sharing his painstaking approach to realism. Baird returned to Montrose after graduating and lived there for the rest of his life, painting local subjects and keeping a low profile. Often described as a Scottish Surrealist, Baird is equally known for his association with the Scottish Renaissance movement. His artistic output was relatively small, due to his perfectionism, time-intensive manner of working and his early death at the age of forty-five.