Last year I received the sad news that a painter friend that I used to exhibit with at the Edinburgh Festival had died. Her husband commissioned my to design and carve her headstone.
Now there was a challenge. Elizabeth Reid (Betty) was a marvellous landscape painter with a fine sense of line and colour. I felt that I needed to reflect her sense of line. Luckily John, Betty’s husband, wanted a brief inscription showing only her name followed by ‘pientre écossais’ and her dates, so I felt that I could keep the composition simple – in a good sense.
When I first met Betty she was painting the Scottish moorlands south of Edinburgh – big skies and rolling countryside, a landscape close to where I grew up. A few lines carved into the top of the stone might reflect that landscape and be a reminder of how she used to capture it.
I drew out my ideas for John’s approval which luckily was forthcoming.
A local quarry sourced some Yorkshire limestone and cut and dressed it to my instructions.
The folks at the quarry kindly provided space in their workshop for me to carry out the carving there, what’s more they also organised the shipping of the stone once I had finished it – quite some service!