Army of volunteers to have portraits unveiled at Battle HQ

An army of dedicated volunteers, who’ve helped breathe life back into Bonnie Prince Charlie’s former battle HQ, are set to be immortalised in a series of fine art photographs.

Army of volunteers to have portraits unveiled at Battle HQ

Article Source: Bannockburn House
First Published: 3 September 2021 16:29
Updated: 3 September 2021 16:30

ARMY OF VOLUNTEERS TO HAVE PORTRAITS UNVEILED AT BATTLE HQ

The photography exhibition, which opens at Bannockburn House on 4 September, is the culmination of a two-year project by Airdrie based fine art photographer Mark Leslie, whose work elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary. Capturing the beauty and significance of ‘normal’ people with a photographic style inspired by the Old Masters, from Rembrandt to Ramsay.

During the course of the project Mark took thousands of pictures at Bannockburn House, spending days perfecting each shot as he sought to depict different eras of the 17th century mansion’s rich, colourful history: from the Jacobites to the Second World War.

What’s all the more remarkable is that Mark squeezed the photoshoots in around his full-time job as a support worker for people with disabilities.

Mark said: “I graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Fine Art in the 1980s, but with starting a family and sustaining a head injury my arts activities were put on hold until about five years ago when I started photographing old, abandoned buildings in my spare time. That’s when I discovered Bannockburn House and completely fell in love with the place. I found the place intoxicating and I still do.”

Through honing his photographic craft, Mark developed a methodology which integrates his fine art training with digital photography.

Mark said: “Sitting for a portrait is something we normally associate with royals or dignitaries, but for me the real VIPs are ordinary, hard-working people. I remember meeting Helen, one of Bannockburn House volunteers for the first time. She was cleaning the windows on the landing. As soon as I saw her, I thought I want to take your photo. I remember telling her and her reaction was, ‘don’t be daft’. Sometimes you see things in people that other people miss. Fast forward three years and she’s saying, ‘I’m ready for my close-up Mr Leslie!’”

For 79-year-old Helen McGregor, it was the first time she had sat for a portrait in over 65 years. She said: “I remember sitting for my art teacher when I was about 14, but that was a very long time ago! Mark and I get on really well, so I found the whole experience really relaxing – I am quite good at sitting, I’ve had lots of practice in lockdown!

“I love all of Mark’s portraits, but my favourite is the one he took of my granddaughter which is reminiscent of ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’. Emily is also 14, isn’t it funny how history repeats itself!”


For gardening volunteer Louise Elliott, the experience helped her get over her fear of having her picture taken. Louise said: “Normally I would run a mile when someone asks to take my photo, but I decided to give it a go. I hardly recognise myself in the images, I look so different.”
She added: “I love how Mark has brought the house to life – my favourite ones are the 1940s land girl photos. They really look like something out of a war time magazine.”

Volunteer Kat Nicolson, who can normally be found in her DIY overalls, jumped at the opportunity to dress up. She said: “When I slipped on the Victorian dress, I felt like a completely different person. It really helped me to connect to the House and the people who once lived here.”

Construction volunteer Jim Palmer also praised Mark’s method. He said: “Mark has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve with each portrait and spends hours getting every little detail right.”

The final photographs will go on display in the mansion’s grand Laigh Hall, where they’ll hang alongside a portrait of Bannockburn House’s most famous resident, Bonnie Prince Charlie, highlighting the important role volunteers play in the restoration project.

Penny Ellis, Chair of Bannockburn House Trust said: “Our wonderful volunteers have worked tirelessly to bring this once neglected but beautiful building and its grounds back to life.

“The mansion was built around 1675, but the historical significance of the site goes way back. Bannockburn House sits at the crossroads of Scottish history, the Romans marched through the estate 2000 years ago, it’s part of the Battle of Bannockburn site, Bonnie Prince Charlie used the House as his battle HQ in 1746, and it became the centre of Scotland’s tartan industry in the 19th century when production was banned in the Highlands.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our project, and this exhibition recognises their pivotal role in helping us secure a bright future for Bannockburn House as a vibrant community resource and leading tourist attraction.”


Mark Leslie’s exhibition will run from 4th-17th September, Monday-Saturday, 12-4pm. Entry is free, but slots must be pre-booked on Eventbrite. Click HERE to reserve your space.

Image: Sheila and Chloe

Latest Stirling News

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and National Trust for Scotland collaborate on sound installation at Moirlanich Longhouse

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and National Trust for Scotland collaborate on sound installation at Moirlanich Longhouse

In a new collaboration between Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the National Trust for Scotland, a specially-commissioned soundscape, has been installed at Moirlanich Longhouse.

First Published: 23rd September 2021
Edinburgh volunteer clocks up the miles on fundraising tour of iconic Scottish locations

Edinburgh volunteer clocks up the miles on fundraising tour of iconic Scottish locations

Rosemary Laird is in the midst of a personal grand tour of Scotland, with the aim of visiting 61 iconic Scottish landmarks and locations on an epic fundraiser for the National Trust for Scotland.

First Published: 23rd September 2021
Watch Scotland come to light with new film for Scotland Year of Coasts and Waters

Watch Scotland come to light with new film for Scotland Year of Coasts and Waters

Light Waves is a multilingual short film by Historic Environment Scotland which showcases Scotland’s coasts and waters and its links to Gaelic and Scots culture.

First Published: 22nd September 2021
Bloody Scotland Hybrid Festival concludes on a high

Bloody Scotland Hybrid Festival concludes on a high

The Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival concluded on a high with some incredibly high-profile names in quick succession bringing it to a close on Sunday night.

First Published: 20th September 2021
Bloody Scotland International Crime Festival reveals winners 2021

Bloody Scotland International Crime Festival reveals winners 2021

Bloody Scotland International Crime Festival yesterday revealed Robbie Morrison and Craig Russell the winners of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize and the McIlvanney Prize 2021.

First Published: 18th September 2021
Scottish Album of the Year Award announced Longlist

Scottish Album of the Year Award announced Longlist

Scotland's national music prize, the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, has officially announced the twenty outstanding Scottish albums which have made it onto this year's coveted Longlist!

First Published: 17th September 2021
New video celebrates Independent Businesses in Stirling

New video celebrates Independent Businesses in Stirling

A promotional video which celebrates Stirling’s independent shops and retailers has been launched by the city’s BID.

First Published: 16th September 2021
BBC Scotland Debate Night TV programme welcomes back studio audiences

BBC Scotland Debate Night TV programme welcomes back studio audiences

We are excited to let you know that BBC Scotland's Debate Night is welcoming audiences back into the studio for their third series and are looking for people from across Scotland to join them!

First Published: 15th September 2021
Second Hand September month at Oxfam

Second Hand September month at Oxfam

Consumers across Scotland are being urged to only buy pre-loved clothing for 30 days or more in order to tackle a throwaway culture that Oxfam Scotland says is making climate change worse.

First Published: 15th September 2021
Fourth Food Festival for Forth Valley

Fourth Food Festival for Forth Valley

Forth Valley Food Festival will return for the fourth year in a row this October. The annual event will run during the school October break, from Saturday 9th to Sunday 17th October.

First Published: 15th September 2021
Safebase Scheme to offer a Safe Haven on the Streets of Stirling

Safebase Scheme to offer a Safe Haven on the Streets of Stirling

A partnership of city organisations has joined forces to launch ‘safe haven’ initiative Safebase on the streets of Stirling.

First Published: 13th September 2021
Creative Cohort lead Stirling Response to Climate Crisis

Creative Cohort lead Stirling Response to Climate Crisis

With the UN Climate Change Conference set to take place in Glasgow this autumn, Scene Stirling has commissioned five creatives to lead the city’s artistic response to the climate crisis.

First Published: 8th September 2021
Army of volunteers to have portraits unveiled at Battle HQ

Army of volunteers to have portraits unveiled at Battle HQ

An army of dedicated volunteers, who’ve helped breathe life back into Bonnie Prince Charlie’s former battle HQ, are set to be immortalised in a series of fine art photographs.

First Published: 3rd September 2021
Bloody Scotland reveals five finalists for the McIlvanney Prize 2021

Bloody Scotland reveals five finalists for the McIlvanney Prize 2021

Judges Karen Robinson, Ayo Onatade and Ewan Wilson reveal the five finalists for The McIlvanney Prize 2021.

First Published: 30th August 2021
Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival entertainment set to be best yet

Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival entertainment set to be best yet

The annual FREE Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival is back this weekend and is shaping up to be a great day out for all the family with a great entertainment line-up and new charitable partnership!

First Published: 30th August 2021
Kiltwalk countdown on as physical event return

Kiltwalk countdown on as physical event return

It’s one month today until Kiltwalkers march out for the charities of their choice, as Scotland's favourite mass participation charity event makes its real-life return!

First Published: 26th August 2021
NYOS is delighted to announce that applications for 2022 courses are now open!

NYOS is delighted to announce that applications for 2022 courses are now open!

Scotland's talented young musicians will once again meet in person to learn, collaborate, play, and perform in prestigious venues across Scotland.

First Published: 26th August 2021
New Digital Education Portal launched by National Theatre of Scotland

New Digital Education Portal launched by National Theatre of Scotland

The National Theatre of Scotland has launched its new online education portal for teachers and students with a specially created resource pack for Hannah Lavery’s Lament for Sheku Bayoh.

First Published: 26th August 2021
Scottish Ballet announces The Sleeping Beauty cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky

Scottish Ballet announces The Sleeping Beauty cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky

Scottish Ballet, Diageo and Whisky Auctioneer have announced the release of 470 bottles from a single cask of Royal Lochnagar whisky, which will be sold at auction 9-13 September 2021!

First Published: 24th August 2021
National Trust for Scotland takes experimental theatre to Ben Lomond

National Trust for Scotland takes experimental theatre to Ben Lomond

A new experimental theatre production will take place at Ben Lomond on Sunday 26th September combining music, dance and spoken word!

First Published: 23rd August 2021
Love Seafood: Must try seafood spots in Scotland

Love Seafood: Must try seafood spots in Scotland

Here at Love Seafood, it’s our mission to get you excited about eating seafood, so we’ve pulled together some of Scotland’s best seafood restaurants.

First Published: 23rd August 2021
Texas to perform under canvas in Stirling in August 2022

Texas to perform under canvas in Stirling in August 2022

Scottish pop/rock band Texas has today (Monday 23rd August 2021) announced it will perform in Stirling’s City Park next summer.

First Published: 23rd August 2021
New behaviour change campaign launched to encourage National Park visitors to tavel by sustainable transport

New behaviour change campaign launched to encourage National Park visitors to tavel by sustainable transport

A new campaign to raise awareness of and encourage people to choose sustainable transport when traveling to the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has launched!

First Published: 17th August 2021
Bloody Scotland reveals 2021 programme

Bloody Scotland reveals 2021 programme

Bloody Scotland is absolutely delighted to reveal its most ambitious programme yet, a hybrid festival taking place from 17th to 19th September.

First Published: 18th August 2021
Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival is back!

Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival is back!

Come and enjoy a fun filled day out on the banks of Loch Lomond when Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival returns in September!

First Published: 18th August 2021
Big Feed x cinch presents TRNSMT

Big Feed x cinch presents TRNSMT

With less than four weeks to go until the gates open at cinch presents TRNSMT, the festival has announced a huge collaboration with Scotland's most popular street food market, Big Feed!

First Published: 17th August 2021
Ancient Archery Competition Returns to Drummond Castle

Ancient Archery Competition Returns to Drummond Castle

The Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers, one of the oldest Archery organisations in the world, return to Drummond Castle this month for their annual Papingo Shoot.

First Published: 16th August 2021
EA Hornel exhibition comes to Drum Castle

EA Hornel exhibition comes to Drum Castle

The National Trust for Scotland’s Drum Castle, one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses and one of the gems of the North East, is hosting a new exhibition on Scottish artist, Edward Atkinson Hornel.

First Published: 13th August 2021
Safe and Sound: Successful summer season in Dunblane

Safe and Sound: Successful summer season in Dunblane

Dunblane’s successful summer season of outdoor shows came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday, as Rubber Chicken Theatre performed Jesus Christ Superstar.

First Published: 13th August 2021
Loch Lomond Shores welcomes new businesses

Loch Lomond Shores welcomes new businesses

As well as welcoming many visitors this summer, Loch Lomond Shores has also been busy welcoming new businesses and retailers, building on their already strong visitor offering.

First Published: 11th August 2021

Sponsored Links

Popular Events

Halloween at Blair Drummond Safari Park
Pumpkin picking, giant spider bales, fire pits and a trick or treat trail! Our fantastic ‘Halloween at Blair Drummond’ is back from 8th - 31st October!
Art Club with Baeberry River Art
Come along and chill out for a morning of art with the support of tutor Fiona at Blaeberry River Art’s brand new art club held in Made in Stirling!
Stirling Car Boot
From food to sweets and treasures to junk, Stirling Car Boot is open every Sunday regardless of the weather!
Falkirk Stadium Car Boot Sale
Come and visit Falkirk Stadium Car Boot Sale, the biggest and best car boot sale in the region, every Sunday... all welcome!
The Magic of The Beatles
The Magic of The Beatles is one of the UK's leading Beatles tribute shows who play to ecstatic sell-out audiences all over the world, catch them at The Albert Halls on 8th October!

Popular Venues

Macrobert Arts Centre Stirling Castle The Albert Halls Stirling The National Wallace Monument Tolbooth Stirling