Last week, at an intimate family gathering at Castle Espie, a stunning 'portrait with a view' was unveiled at Castle Espie.
Colin Davidson, a local contemporary artist, list of portrait sitters include Brad Pitt, Ed Sheeran, Queen Elizabeth, Seamus Heaney and now, our very own Paddy Mackie.
Paddy and Colin first met when Colin’s father Rowland Davidson, one of Northern Ireland’s most esteemed artists, exhibited at The Castle Espie Gallery when Colin was still at school. The Mackie and Davidson family have had a long standing relationship, marked by Colin painting this stunning portrait of Paddy which will be proudly displayed in Castle Epsie in honour of Paddy and the Mackie family’s dedication to Castle Espie and WWT.
Paddy Mackie opened The Castle Espie Conservation Centre and Castle Espie Gallery on March 17th 1982, and it soon became the ‘Irish Wing’ of the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust as fondly named by Sir Peter Scott, founder of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
In 1989 a partnership was formed between Castle Espie and WWT which continues to flourish to this day.
It was Paddy and his family’s friendship with Sir Peter Scott that helped to create the WWT Castle Espie reserve as we know it. Their combined passion for this landscape and its wildlife, led to decades of keen bird watching and study, culminating in the purchase of the site in 1978.
Colin and Paddy proudly unveiled the beautiful portrait last week amongst family, whilst also celebrating their 'History of Castle Espie' exhibit which has proudly been displayed in the Graffan Gallery at Castle Espie throughout the summer. This exhibit will return again in October and is a wonderful representation of the true story of Castle Espie through photographs and memoirs provided by the Mackie family.
Paul Stewart, from WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre said:
“Without the Mackie family and their relationship with Sir Peter Scott, WWT Castle Espie would not exist in the way we know it.We are proud to display this fantastic portrait of Paddy, painted by Colin Davidson, as a symbol of our appreciation to Paddy and his family for creating a haven for nature, staff and visitors to enjoy.”