Adrian part of the bigger picture

Adrian Diack pictured in front of Laughton Manor.'Contributed photo
Adrian Diack pictured in front of Laughton Manor.'Contributed photo

A UNIQUE work of art unveiled recently to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee features a Montrose connection - if you look closely enough.

To celebrate the landmark, BBC South East asked viewers and listeners to contribute a significant, personal photograph to be included in the artwork, which was revealed at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.

More than 5,000 responded and the photos were used to create a huge mosaic of the Queen, depicting her when she ascended the throne and as she is now.

Among the pictures is Adrian Diack, formerly of Craig Manse, who is pictured in front of Laughton Manor in East Sussex. Laughton is the former home of fellow Montrosian Sir James Duke who was Lord Mayor of London from 1848 to 1849, a Liberal MP between 1837 to 1865 and a close friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Sir James was also Sheriff of London and was appointed High Sheriff of Sussex in 1872 and he bought Laughton Manor, built between 1760 and 1780, in the 1840s.

An admirer of Osborne House, the royal couple’s retreat on the Isle of Wight, Sir James remodelled the then Laughton Lodge in the same Italianate style.

Mr Diack said: “Sir James Duke was an alderman of St Dunstan’s ward. In this connection, he gave a drinking fountain to the city which can be seen there to the present day at St Dunstan’s Church on Fleet Street.

“He never forgot his Montrose origins and the Sir James Duke silver medal was awarded annually to the two most distinguished scholars at Montrose Academy by magistrates of Montrose on his behalf. As is engraved on the medal, he wished ‘to reward their merit and to stimulate them to an active upright course of life.’”

Sir James’ family remained in the manor house for nearly 70 years, until it was sold in 1911. There is a stain glass window to his memory in All Saints, the parish church at Laughton, and he was interred in a large sarcophagus near the church entrance.

The photo mosaic is currently on display in the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne but it will move to the Turner Contemporary in Margate for viewing from Saturday, June 16.

A digital version can be viewed online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/jubileeimage.