The sport of golf has inspired many famous paintings. Perhaps the most well known is "The Golfers" by Charles Lees. Lees was a Scottish portrait painter who turned later in his life to sporting and recreational paintings, notably golf and curling. This painting depicts the foursomes match between Sir David Baird and his partner Sir Ralph Anstruther against Major Hugh Lyon Playfair and John Campbell esq. which took place during the Royal and Ancient Autumn Meeting in 1844. The setting is apparently the 13th or `Ginger Beer` hole on the Old Course at St Andrews. Copies of this work hang in many different golf clubhouses but the original is owned by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It was the fashion in those days to include the likenesses of many of the `great and good` in sweeping canvas compositions. No doubt whoever commissioned this work prescribed to the artist a clear list of those people whom they wished to be featured? As a portraitist it must have been natural for Lees to combine this approach with the landscape setting.
My own favourite golf painting hangs in the dining room of the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse in St Andrews.
Entitled `Rainy Day` it depicts a group of spectators huddled under umbrellas in squally weather on what looks like one of the outward holes of the Old Course. A player addresses his ball as the rain sweeps in and a clearing in the sky illuminates the horizon against which the silhouette of the town can be seen.
It is a marvellously atmospheric composition painted in earth tones and greys and blacks. Anyone who has played golf in those conditions will immediately empathise - though as it is hanging in the dining room it can be surveyed whilst basking in the comforting glow of a glass of fine wine.
As a keen golfer I have been meaning to do a golf painting for a while now. I finally got the opportunity when a good friend sent me a photograph of him at Muirfield; this ended up as a 50th birthday present to him from his wife. Landscapes are a new thing for me and I found the links grass a bit of a challenge to capture. I rather cheekily included in the foreground myself and a mutual golfing friend - thats us watching him hit his tee shot. Anyway, the gentleman appears happy with it, and I am planning to do more golf themed paintings soon.
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