The Golfers - Oil Painting by Charles Lees


The Golfers - Oil Painting


Charles Lees

Ref GM327
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 26" x 16" (66 x 40 cm)
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This is one of the most celebrated of all sporting pictures, of great historical significance as regards both Scottish culture in the mid-nineteenth century, and the game of golf itself. The scene is the fourth hole on the Old Course at St Andrews during the October meeting of 1844. The match shown was played between Sir David Baird of Newbyth and Sir Ralph Anstruther of Balcaskie, and their opponents: Major Hugh Lyon Playfair of St. Andrews and John Campbell of Glensaddel. Golf is thought to have originated in Scotland in the twelfth century. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, which was founded in 1754, rapidly grew in importance, and is now generally considered to be “the home of golf”. This would have been a typical scene at the course in the 1840s, when gentlemen and their lady escorts would descend in large numbers for the autumn meeting: these were animated affairs, with famously extravagant banquets, and huge stakes being gambled on the outcome of the day’s play. Of further historical interest is a groundbreaking method employed by the artist in creating his work: in order to ensure accuracy, he used photographs of some of the characters as an aid. By all accounts the likenesses were excellent, and a key survives which identifies all the players and spectators. The painting is on permanent display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.