Geikie Revisited – Ink washes on pencil in a A4 Watercolour Moleskine
This is my interpretation of one of Geikie’s more well known works. It is in Edinburgh’s “Capital Collections:
entitled “Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket”. I know this area very well but had great difficulty in finding the point where he sketched this work from. It appears that the buildings are all gone or altered but the general appearance of the castle remains. It was great fun trying to look at, and recreate a scene from all those years ago.
When Edinburgh born Walter Geikie (1795-1837) was two years old an illness left him permanently deaf which resulted in him never learning to talk. In those days deaf and dumb people were stigmatised as being of low intelligence and were shunned or ridiculed by others in society. Geikie, however, rose above this and, through his art, became very popular in his short life. His drawings and sketches tended to be of local scenes and local people and were usually done in ink as monochrome woks. He rarely used colour, people said it was due to his inability to verbally communicate leading to a lack of colour in his life. He is widely credited with helping the deaf to become more accepted in every day life and was the co-founder of the world’s first “Deaf Church and Society”. A plaque was placed on his grave by the Donaldson’s Association in 1996, in appreciation. (Donaldson’s School for the Deaf is a famous Edinburgh School).
Many of Geikie’s works are in various collections and some can be viewed at San Francisco’s Fine Art Museum, the Tate in London and a Harvard collection.