Mystery masterpiece from Dailly’s past

BEAUTIFUL: Boating on the River Girvan by Dalquharran Castle. Picture: Alan McKeown.
BEAUTIFUL: Boating on the River Girvan by Dalquharran Castle. Picture: Alan McKeown.

AN OLD painting has stirred up a case of unknown identity in Dailly as one Stranraer man tries to find the artist behind his 19th-century inheritance.

Ronnie Irving, of Stranraer’s Lewis Street, has begun a Carrick-centred quest to reveal the artist behind Boating on the River Girvan by Old Dalquharran Castle, an oil on canvas dating back to 1888.

Having recently paid a visit to Girvan’s Green Jam picture framers, Mr Irving was surprised to find the artist, who he had believed to be his grandmother, in fact had a set of mystery initials.

After talking to Green Jam owner George McGeehan it emerged the painting’s date did not correspond with his grandmother’s lifetime and was painted before she was born.

Mr Irving describes his grandmother, Margarita Robertson, as a very talented artist, who lived with her doctor husband at The Roan, Dailly, for around 40 years. But he is determined to unearth the truth behind the artwork. He has already visited Dailly cemetery for clues in his family history and intends to head to Girvan to do the same.

“It was only this year that I took the painting out and thought it quite nice,” Mr Irving admits. “It was something that I never paid any attention to before as I found it a bit dull.

“I like it now, and it would be nice to establish who it is by. I would like to know if it was a local artist who lived in the village, because there were some quite skilled people in the village of Dailly. It would give clarity to the picture and it would be nice to think that somebody local had painted it and there is local history there.”

Green Jam owner George McGeehan said he was quite excited about the painting upon first seeing it. “It struck me as a very good painting by a professional,” he said, “but the thing that really attracted me was that it is a beautiful painting of our area – and a part of our area that I should know well but don’t. To hear that it might have been someone was of the area was also of interest and I thought it might be of interest locally.”

Mr McGeehan was such a fan of the painting that he asked Mr Irving’s permission to have it reproduced and prints will soon be on sale at Green Jam on Girvan’s Knockcushan Street.