Sculpture to be made in Adam Christie style

Dave Ramsay with the Historic Scotland plaque at Sleepyhillock dedicated to Adam Christie
Dave Ramsay with the Historic Scotland plaque at Sleepyhillock dedicated to Adam Christie

A sculpture in the style of artist Adam Christie is to be placed next to his grave site in Montrose.

Dave Ramsay has been seeking wider recognition for Christie, who was a patient at Sunnyside Royal Hospital after coming here from Shetland in 1901.

During his time at the asylum, he developed a skill for sculpture in stone, using a heavy old file and a six inch nail, and a piece of broken glass to create a smooth finish on some parts of his artworks.

The late Ken Keddie, a consultant psychiatrist at Sunnyside, published Christie’s story in a book called ‘The Gentle Shetlander’ in 1984.

Last year, a memorial plaque by Historic Scotland was awarded to Christie and erected at Sleepyhillock Cemetery where the artist was buried in a pauper’s grave after dieing in 1950 at Sunnyside.

Since then Dave has been pursuing the creation of a sculpture in the Christie style to be installed beside the plaque. After many unsuccessful discussions and negotiations with sculptors, Brian Wyllie came to his attention.

Dave said: “It was the most remarkable sequence of events. I was walking past a house in Gourdon, and there in the window were some brilliant examples of stone sculpture, which a friend was showcasing for Brian.

“I contacted Brian immediately and yet another surprise was in store for me, as Brian knew the whole story about Adam Christie, and had even sculpted stones for Ken Keddie in his garden in Inverkeilor. As a result there was only one sculptor for this commission and that was Brian. He is an extremely skilled craftsman, and is the perfect person for this task”

Aberdeenshire Councillor Bill Howatson and Dave are to produce a book which charts Christie’s story from Keddie’s publication to the present day.

Dave said: “Bill’s enthusiasm for all things heritage, and his deep involvement with the Adam Christie recognition plan makes him a key player in charting this remarkable story, and his journalistic background will be a great asset in this last part of the project.

“A current project at Glasgow University is being led by Dr Cheryl McGeachan, researching the links between mental illness and ‘outsider art’, using Adam as a case study.”