Undocumented Adam Christie heads come to light

Pictured, from the left, are: Lindsay Cameron, Dave Ramsay, Brian Wyllie and Alison Cameron with the three Adam Christie sculptures.
Pictured, from the left, are: Lindsay Cameron, Dave Ramsay, Brian Wyllie and Alison Cameron with the three Adam Christie sculptures.

Three undocumented and original sculptures by Montrose “outsider artist” Adam Christie have come to light.

Thanks to a story in this newspaper about Arbroath sculptor Brian Wyllie being commissioned to create a piece to commemorate Christie, local couple Alison and Lindsay Cameron contacted Dave Ramsay, who has been campaigning for a number of years to get wider recognition for the artist, to say that they had three Christie stone heads in their possession.

The artworks were produced while Adam Christie was patient in Sunnyside Royal Hospital in Hillside for 50 years until his death in 1950.

Although Christie had no formal training, he produced stone sculptures, using an old file, a six inch nail and a piece of broken glass for finishing.

Dave said: “These are three remarkable pieces, with one of them dated 1927, and all bearing the standard Adam Christie inscription, and all until recently, unknown.”

Alison and Lindsay invited Dave and Brian to view the stone heads, and told them the story behind them; Alison’s grandfather, David Dutch, had been a porter at Sunnyside and Christie used to stop by and work on his sculptures at the porter’s lodge.

As Adam used to give away all his sculptures, four of them were given to David.

They were then passed down to Alison’s mother, Nan Dutch, who displayed them in her garden until recently when Alison made contact about her family history and the Christie connection.

Dave added: “This wonderful new connection and time line helps build a better picture of the sheer volume of Adam’s work, which will be reflected by the skills of Brian Wyllie, as a personal tribute to Adam.

“To discover three unknown heads at this stage of the project is great news, and the connection of the three sculptors is a great acknowledgement to the skill of craftsmen who work in stone. To also have a clear family history from Alison and Lindsay is so helpful.”

The Brian Wyllie commission will be finished this year, and a date will be set for the installation at Montrose. It will complement a plaque awarded to Christie by Historic Scotland last year.