By Allan Thomson
Those who read our recent publication, People and Painting, will have seen the Artist’s Impression of Crathes in 1783 by Jan Dunbar. For those who have not read it, the book is highly recommended and is available. ( www.burnett.uk.com )
Allan Thomson, a resident of Banchory and retired as a Quantity Surveyor, kindly agreed to make a model from the painting and it is planned to display it in the Castle.
Allan tells his own story when I spoke to him about the model.
You knew me originally as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, or more understandably a Construction Cost Consultant. Retirement some time ago enabled me to broaden my horizons and what better than to indulge myself in my boyhood fascination for steam locomotives.
So railway modelling it was. A pastime which, like many boys of the 50s and early 60s, I had enjoyed until other matters became more important. But nowadays the digitisation of the world has not spared model railways, and in my models I have installed computer chips, sound, smoke and even fire! But a model railway is not complete without some scenery to set it off, so the mountains, rivers, viaducts, harbours and railway architecture of the West Highland railway had to be modelled. All this required a large log cabin and an understanding wife, and I’m pleased to say I’m halfway there!
So it was than one day last year we had a chance meeting when, taking a photocopy of something from your pocket you said “Could you model that?” The picture showed Crathes Castle as it was circa 1783. “Model that with its corbells, spouts, castellations, turrets, arrow slit windows?” I thought. “Beyond me!” I replied. But later, lying in bed and thinking as one does, the challenge grew in my mind.
A few days later I agreed to “have a go”. The subject would stretch my abilities using card and glue, and involved much research, meetings with historians and archaeologists, volumes of reading. I invented new techniques to obtain the required external finish, and the end result is, I think, a reasonable representation of Crathes Castle at its grandest period. I hope it inspires interest in the Castle and perhaps in model building.