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2. Stunning Battle Art Exhibition Opens at The Gothenburg .. it's there all week

Week long re-enactments begin in picture frames ...

The Battle in 1745 created an amazing literary and artistic legacy for Scotland. At the outset, Arran Johnston was asked by the Trust to collate and edit a collection which was published in 2009 under the title Rebellious Scots to Crush ... from the UK National Anthem which was penned in response to the Prince's Victory hereabouts.

Keeping that tradition alive has always been high on the agenda. Andrew Dallmeyer has penned and presented two plays and four new novels have already been published by Cuthill Press, including Sharon Dabell's The Onward Journey published this month.

On Tuesday, September 20th, the 2011 re-enactment season began with an exhibition at The Gothenburg in the Thomas Nelson Suite of six artworks created for the Trust over the past 2 years. Two local artists have been involved - Kate Hunter as portrait painter and Andrew Hillhouse as storytelling landscapist. And the outcomes are stunning. Visitors have been delighted.

Sir John Cope ... at last a contemporary portrait!

Sir John's fame as loser at Prestonpans has been ridiculed for centuries although many serious historians believe him to be badly maligned. General Sir Robert Cadell, living at Cockenzie House, penned one the best defences of Cope at the end of the 19th century. The Trust has reprinted that book. But there were only two known images of Cope available. The first is a portrait in 1730 at Blickling Hall in Norfolk when he was an MP thereabouts and the second is the unkind cartoon of him in 1745.

So Kate Hunter's challenge was to age the man, preserving his characteristic nose captured both in the cartoon and the 1730 portrait, then to dress him in his General's attire adorned with his sash of the Knighthood of the Bath. As such, he is shown above and he will in future always appear in juxtaposition to The Prince himself, whom Kate also portrayed 18 months ago because ... well, curators who know about such matters concluded that their traditionally accepted portrait of the Prince was probably his brother Henry! [It can just be seen in the background between the two artists as pictured above.]

Snapshots at the battle from Andrew Hillhouse

Andrew's four artworks appeared in time sequence. First he depicts the Highlanders making their fabled night march along the Riggonhead Defile ['s being reenacted at Saturday dawn again this year!]. Next as the redcoat cannons roared, just the once, the Camerons capture them.

The battle done local redcoat hero Colonel Gardiner is carried to Tranent Manse mortally wounded and the Manse is searched by Highlanders who fail to trace him upstairs thanks to the Jenkinson sisters!

Finally, Cope's Baggage train surrenders at Cockenzie House and the considerable booty includes chocolate powder and 5000 in specie [alas not shown here].

Friends and supporters of both artists gathered to admire their work. All agreed that they had made a most significant contribution to the battle's ever growing artistic and cultural legacy. Theatre, fictional and non-fictional literature, tapestry, music, story telling, oil on canvas ... whatever next? All suggestions welome!

Arran Johnston, for the Battle Trust, declaring the exhibition open also formally launched the 2011 Re-enactment Campaign. It ends on Sunday at Cuthill Park of course with the redcoats once again in full flight from the Highland charge.

The East Lothian Courier grabbed the segment shown above of Andrew's battle scene for its front page!

Published Date: September 22nd 2011

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