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Charles Altamont Doyle, Saint Giles - His Bells


St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh

Date: Unknown
Technique: Watercolour and ink drawing, 95.6 x 63.5 cm

Charles Altamont Doyle described the spirits he painted in the night sky above St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh as 'personified memories recalled by the Bells as they ring a merry Midnight'. His phantasmagoric watercolour St Giles shows a stream of ghosts haunting the city, and includes heroes and villains, celebrities and members of the mob: Montrose is being driven to his execution; Prince Charles is escorted by the Clans; George IV enters the city in a carriage. With these figures are representatives of the Auld Town Guard, Fishwives of the City, and the 4th Light Infantry, seen departing for the Crimean War in 1854. Few watercolours reveal with such surreal clarity the painter's disturbed or joyful visions of the spirit world.

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