About this artwork

This oil sketch, a study for the much larger and more crowded painting, ‘The Golfers’, records a famous match played on the Old Course of St Andrews during the Annual Meeting of 1841. Two Scottish baronets, Sir David Baird of Newburgh and Sir Ralph Anstruther of Balcaskie, challenged two other gentlemen players, Major Playfair and John Campbell of Glenseddel, to a match. This loose sketch has all the appearance of having been painted rapidly, perhaps even on the spot. This contrasts to Lees’ finished painting, in which the figures appear more posed, perhaps because the artist utilised photographs of the figures as a visual aid.

Charles Lees

Charles Lees

Charles Lees was born in Cupar, Fife. He trained as a painter in Edinburgh with the eminent portraitist, Sir Henry Raeburn. After six months in Rome he returned to Edinburgh where he established himself as a portrait painter. Lees was elected a Royal Scottish Academician in 1830. From the 1840s Lees built himself a reputation as a specialist in depicting sporting subjects; 'The Golfers' was his first major sporting picture.