oil on canvas,
60cm x 60cm,
Iain White, 2015,
This simplified and stylised image begins to hover between reality and abstraction and if anything serves to heighten the mystery surrounding the title of the work.
Exactly why this pinnacle of pipe rock at the head of Coire na Lurgainn is called Lord Reay’s seat is not known. Lord Reay of Reay is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. The title was created in 1628 for the soldier Sir Donald Mackay, 1st Baronet. Additionally Lord Reay is the hereditary Clan Chief of Clan Mackay, whose lands in Strathnaver and northwest Sutherland were known as Reay Country.
They were sold to the Earls of Sutherland in the 18th century but are now in part the Reay Forest Estate owned by the Dukes of Westminster. However, there is still a Lord Reay, Aeneas Simon Mackay, 15th Lord Reay, but the family seat is Ophemert Castle, near Tiel, Gelderland, in the Netherlands.
Lord Reay also refers to a legendary magician in Caithness folklore who believed he had come off best in an encounter with a witch in Smoo Cave near Durness. So, whether it is the baronet or the magician who lends their name to this imposing pinnacle is unknown.