Friday, November 23, 2012

Richard Schmid's "Abbotsford House"

“O Caledonia! stern and wild, 
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood;
Land of the mountain and the flood!
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!”
Sir Walter Scott  -  Lay of the Last Minstrel (canto VI, st. 2)

Richard Schmid
Abbotsford House (2012)
30 X 50 in.
oil on canvas

Several years ago, Douglas Pringle, an attorney and the president of the K.T. Wiedemann Foundation, a non-profit, charitable grant organization located in Wichita, Kansas, contacted Kristen Thies of West Wind Fine Art, expressing interest in the artwork of American Master, Richard Schmid.  The Wiedemann Foundation, which has a rich tradition of promoting the arts in Wichita, decided to acquire several of Schmid's original paintings to place on public view at the Wichita Center for the Arts. 

During follow-up conversations with Pringle, Thies mentioned, in passing, that she and Schmid were planning for an upcoming trip to London, and this piqued Pringle's interest.  The attorney, a descendent of the Pringles of Melsrose, asked if the artist and art dealer might also consider visiting Scotland.  After being inspired by the words of the Scottish poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott, who had written, "If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright / Go visit it by the pale moonlight," the teenaged Pringle had made the pilgrimage to the land of his ancestors, and there became entranced by the romance of the land.  If Schmid were interested, Pringle proposed commissioning the artist to travel to Melrose, and to paint a large landscape featuring Abbotsford, the baronial house and estate of Scott.  Schmid, who himself had been enchanted by Scotland during his first visit to that grand country, and who also had a fondness for castles, responded to this idea with a resounding "Yes!"¹

The resulting painting, Abbotsford House, made its official debut on September 29th, 2012 at the Wichita Center for the Arts.  It was part of a special exhibition, jointly organized by the Wiedemann Foundation and West Wind Fine Art, featuring 20 of Schmid's works culled from permanent collections.  In attendance at this very special unveiling were three of Sir Walter Scott's descendants, as well as several dignitaries from Abbotsford.

Next year, the painting will be permanently installed in the new visitor center at Abbotsford House in Scotland.  Schmid has granted to the Abbottsford Trust the reproduction rights to the painting, so that 100% of the income generated from the sale of prints of the work will be directed into the Trust's ambitious £14 million revitalization project of Scott's ancestral home.

“What skilful limner e'er would choose
To paint the rainbow's varying hues,
Unless to mortal it were given
To dip his brush in dyes of heaven?”
~ Sir Walter Scott

Richard Schmid, in Scotland, with his study of Abbotsford House

Richard Schmid in his studio, working from his plein air study.

"The Creation of a Masterwork, 'Abbotsford House' by Richard Schmid,"
a film by Ryan Mellody (Artists on Art online magazine)

"This short video highlights the American Unveiling of Richard Schmid’s historic painting of ABBOTSFORD - Sir Walter Scott’s home in Melrose, Scotland, and an Exhbition of Schmid’s paintings at the Wichita Center for the Arts in Wichita, KS on September 29, 2012. The Exhibition was curated by Kristen Thies and hosted by The K. T. Wiedemann Foundation, Inc. and West Wind Fine Art."
Film by Ryan Mellody |
Produced by Kristen Thies |
Narrated by Richard Schmid |
Paintings and script ©Richard Schmid 2012
Soundtrack: River of Life by Mark Petrie

"Nothing is more the child of art than a garden."  ~  Sir Walter Scott

To all, to each!  a fair good-night,
And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light.

¹ Kristen Thies, Richard Schmid's Journey to Abbotsford, "Fine Art Connoisseur," Vol. 9, Issue 5, October 2012, p. 90.

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