About this artwork

Much of Baird’s artistic output from his later years consisted of portraits of friends and local characters. In this example of his formal portraiture, the sitter is James Carson, who was headmaster at Rossie Farm School in Montrose. The portrait was commissioned by a local businessman and was originally presented to the school shortly after the sitter’s retiral. It commemorates Carson’s forty years of service and the associated award of an MBE. Carson was born in Dalry, Ayrshire, and was also Chair of the Montrose branch of the Worker’s Education Association. As a committed Socialist, it is likely that Baird also knew the sitter in this capacity.

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.