Strathard Heritage Archive

Place

Type

Subject

Date

Reid at Drumlean

By James Kennedy

2 November 2020

The main purpose of this short article is to introduce a collection of photographs taken by Charles Reid at Drumlean. These have been provided by Marjory Brown (MB) and Ann Wallace (AW). The images from MB number 25 and there are several other from AW. Charles Reid was a renowned Scottish photographer and the images are typical of his work although it is believed that it was his son William who completed the work. Examples are shown here. 

The information about Charles and William Reid is mainly taken from Wikipedia. The information about Drumlean is from Marjory Brown whose family including her mother, uncle and grandparents feature significantly in the images.

Background

Drumlean can be traced as far back as 1427 when lands were granted by King James 1 to Malise Graham during the reconstruction of the Earldom of Menteith. When the last Earl died in 1694 his lands passed into the hands of the Marquis of Montrose. In more recent times the Joynson family had a significant part to play in the management and ownership of Drumlean, for the best part of 100 years until 1985. In the 1800s Robert Hampson was the tenant for some 34 years and when he died the remainder of the 19 year lease was transferred to E. Walter Joynson (1).

The Joynsons continued to lease Drumlean and other land in the area until 1929 when  in order to pay death duties the Duke of Montrose advertised for sale all of his properties in the parishes of Aberfoyle and Port of Menteith. On the 10th of October 1928 the Joynsons completed the purchase of Ledard and Drumlean. The farm and land were managed both for agricultural activities as well as for hunting and shooting. The land was sold in 1984 to a German based investor and the company called Drumlean Estate Limited is currently owned by Reiner Brach.

The title of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean is held by Michael Forsyth who was elevated to the House of Lords on 14th July 1999.Lord Forsyth was the Member of Parliament for Stirling from 1983 to 1997 and became a member of the cabinet in 1995 as Secretary of State for Scotland. He is currently Chairman of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. Lord Forsyth has lived in the area for more than 30 years.

Charles Reid  (20 September 1837-1929) was one of the first and most successful commercial photographers in Scotland. He pioneered the photography of livestock and wildlife in an era when very long exposures were generally required. In a 50-year career, he travelled all over the UK (2).

Figure 1: Charles Reid with a cuckoo

Reid was born in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (3), the son of William Reid, a plasterer and labourer, and Isabella Findlater. Reid married and had seven children. Reid began work as a cattle herd’s boy at the age of 10. An apprenticeship to a shoemaker followed and then work as a post runner. The gift of a camera from a lodger started him on the career that would occupy the remainder of his days (4). The local trade directory indicates that Reid had a studio in Turriff until around 1876, after which he settled in Wishaw and set up a studio in Shand Street.

He travelled the length and breadth of Britain photographing the prize race horses and breeding stock of the landed gentry. For many years he was the official photographer to the Highland an Agricultural Society of Scotland and to the Royal Agricultural Society of England.

Ian Sumner in The Encyclopaedia of 19th Century Photography, 2013 said of Reid “Reid’s pictures are always well composed and show good technique and many examples of his small studies were purchased by artists as reference for their paintings and sculptures”. Reid produced a large quantity of high-quality albumen and carbon prints. His large carbon studies of Highland cattle and sheep graced many late Victorian parlours (5). Reid also ran a photographic studio in Wishaw that produced portraits and cabinet cards typical of the period (6).

From Marjory Brown: 

Marjory’s information is from her mother May McAlpine who featured in many of the images with her brother Duncan (i.e. Marjory’s uncle) and grandparents George and Marjory McAlpine. From the assumed ages of the subjects it would appear that Reid of Wishaw visited Drumlean on at least 2 separate occasions probably in the early 1900s and then some 10-12 years later. Whilst the business was headed up by Charles Reid according to Marjory it was his son William Reid who took many of the images. The process involved a significant amount of preparation and waiting for the conditions to be as the photographer wanted then to be. Reid was a strong believer in the importance of detail and this meant that many of his photographs featured in books, magazines and exhibitions.

The Drumlean Photographs show aspects of the people living on the estate and have a significant emphasis on the shooting and hunting activities of the estate. Several of the game books are held at the University of Stirling Archives and are described (7) as follows: “The game books are not just bare records of what was shot, where and when, and by whom, but are thickened by comment, as to how the dogs worked, what the weather was like, who shot well, and which drives worked”.

The only specific reference (8) to William Reid is a newspaper entry in the Dundee Courier in January 15th 1901. William took first prize for “Horses in a Harvest Field” shown at the 3rd International Exhibition under the auspices of the Blairgowrie and District Photographic Association. William also won a diploma at the same exhibition for “On a New Zealand Farm”. William wrote in 1916 to Marjory McAlpine (McIntyre) who featured in the photographs and at that point his headed notepaper has him at 38 York Place in Edinburgh and described as a photographer. 

Several of the images were to also form a collection of postcards.

Figure 2 Shooting Party headed by Ray Joynson circa 1910 at Ledard
Figure 3 George McAlpine looking over Loch Ard.
Figure 4 Sam Mair and Marjory McAlpine early 1900s

Publications

  • Reid, Charles, Animal Studies. (Photographs from life.) Charles Letts & Company 1902
  • Reid Charles, Bird Life Containing Over One Hundred Illustrations of Birds and Their Nests from Photographs. T.N Foulis, 1914
  • Scottish Country Life magazine of 1915, pages 189–190, “A Master of Photography : Charles Reid, Wishaw” (article)

Footnotes:

  1. Local Past Peter Joynson of Laraich. Private Print 1996 pp 72-85.
  2. Angus McDonald The Scottish Farmer –date to be confirmed either May 1991 or May 1996. Unavailable to complete owing to coronavirus restrictions in 2020.
  3. Scotland’s People web site.
  4. Angus McDonald The Scottish Farmer –date to be confirmed either May 1991 or May 1996. Unavailable to complete owing to coronavirus restrictions in 2020.
  5. Hanleavy, John, Encyclopaedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2019/nov/20/100-years-of-scottish-life-in-pictures, accessed November 2020
  7. Forth Naturalist and Historian, volume 31 117 “Come North- Glassert Game Books and Diary”. Alastair Durie and Karl Magee.
  8. Dundee Courier Photography at Blairgowrie 15th January 1901 p5 col 6.