Crealock was one of the most colourful figures in the British army of the 19th century. He rose to the rank of Major-General and gained awards for gallantry. Both Henry Hope and his brother John North Crealock were proficient artists. Henry would produce many sketches and caricatures whilst serving as a soldier with the 90th Perthshire and the Cameronians. He retired from the army in 1884. Crealock was a fine shot and an enthusiast for deer stalking in the highlands of Scotland and spent autumns in the 1870s in the Scottish deer forests of Glen Quioch, Clunie, Achnacarry, Inver Moriston, Braemore, Balmacaan and Loch Luichart. His sketches and drawings reveal his love for the quarry he sought and the people he spent time with.

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  • 'Among the Red Deer - In the Hills of Scotland' 1892

    He was a fine naturalist and this shows through pictures in this collection from ‘Among the Red Deer – In the Hills of Scotland’. Henry Crealock continues showing an astute awareness of detail and humour he invested into his sketches as a military man. The atmosphere of the hills is beautifully captured. The album in the Low Parks collection mostly consists of the original drawings and donated to the Cameronians in 1944 by a descendant of General Crealock, Major J.W. S. Crealock. A limited edition of 255, edited by his brother John North was published in 1892,

    'Among the Red Deer - In the Hills of Scotland' 1892
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Spying

    Much of the time spent in the hills during the stalking season is spent in observation. Crealock gives us a scene where the stalker and his gentleman are settling down to scan a distant herd. What they are looking for is a suitable stag and their objective would be to approach as carefully as possible to within rifle range. This is where the professional stalker takes over the operation as he will have not only knowledge of the ground to cover, but a good idea of the way the wind would swirl and shift in the corries; one whiff of scent would alert the watchful deer.

    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • 'We were getting on very nicely flat on our bellies'

    This shows how the stalker and his client often have to crawl within shooting range over very rough terrain and downwind of the target animal. In his notes, Crealock mentions a 'Royal' (twelve pointed antlers) and a ten pointer, as two stags they try for. As the Royal moved off the men had to circle two miles to get within range and still had to let the best stag go.

    the stalk
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Close to

    We now see that stalk is nearing its climax. The two men have approached the herd and a close to the ground ready for action. We can see how the stags are fairly relaxed and graze peacefully but behind them two hinds look directly at the stalkers and any strange movement from the men would set the deer running. Crealock's experience is evident in this small sketch as he would know that on the hill it would tend to be older hinds that would alert the herd to danger and, as well as an extremely fine sense of smell, deer have very good eyesight. The bottom picture shows a group of resting hinds with the stalker below a rock, hardly daring to move.

    Close to
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Taking a Quick Shot

    This page from the album illustrates the dichotomy between Crealock's stalking to shoot and his love for the animals themselves. In the top picture we see the professional stalker pointing the target out while the gentleman takes aim. The herd has wind of the two men and begins to lift off and so an urgent shot is required.

    Below are some sketches of red deer hinds, accentuating the beauty and grace of these animals.

    taking a quick shot
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • In these drawings and sketches Henry Crealock brings into a world of nature at it wildest. His figures seem to invade but the deer are part of the landscape and, as in real life, they seem to appear and disappear into the highland mists. His knowledge of deer is obvious in the way he can show their attitudes and movements, whether peacefully settled to grazing or alerted to danger. The sport of shooting red deer and the love for the creatures these men stalked is evident in Crealock's drawings. He certainly expresses the excitement of the chase but draws beautiful studies of hinds and stags in their true environment.

  • 'How we found them over Lochie Vran'

    This wonderful sketch is of three figures crouched on the lip of a vast corrie. they are observing the herd which shelters on the lee slopes out of the wind. the stalk must be planned and the men will have a long traverse to get downwind and close. In this image Crealock captures the essence of sport of deerstalking, the environment and the immense spaces of the highland hills.

    'How we found them over Lochie Vran'
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Hang it! They're off!

    The stalker gets close but some movement, or zephyr of scent, is noticed by the herd and they take to their heels.

    'Very slowly I raised myself to take the shot. Hang it! They're off!'
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • 'The Enemy's advanced posts'

    Henry Hope Crealock was something of a humourist and this is evident in the sketches he made of fellow officers and men whilst serving in the army. In this page from the album we see the two figures hiding in rocks as an old hind is only feet away. The caption reads: '"Those beggars of hinds are always in the way." We begin to feel the Enemy's advanced posts, so we had to lie down on our arms, and there I took a nap until they fed on.'

    'The Enemy's advanced posts'
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • 'The Baron of Coilty'

    In these two lovely drawings we see the deer at close quarters. Again, in the first sketch, the stalker has a suspicious hind to deal with and keeps very low in the heather. Below, we see stags with hinds moving slowly downhill. With them is the master stag, which Crealock recognises as 'The Baron of Coilty'. Stags such as this one would rule over a group of hinds in the breeding season and fend off the younger and smaller males, hence perpetuating the strong population. Quite often over the seasons in a deer forest certain animals would be seen repeatedly and the stalkers would give them names. Some became famous and often prize quarry for visiting guests.

    'The Baron of Coilty'
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Studies of Red Deer

    Several small studies of the animals loved by Crealock. His artistic skill and his knowledge of deer is evident in these small cameos. He also draws a pony carrying the carcass of a stag off the hill. These hardy ponies were, and in some cases still are, the best method of getting the animal off the ground after a successful stalk.

    Studies of Red Deer
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Hinds

    For once a colour work by Crealock, showing a group of red deer hinds alerted by something. In his caption Crealock writes 'Curiosity of the female exemplified... the hinds stalk me!

    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council

  • Awaiting the Shot

    Finally, we see the stalker at long range from the herd. This is Henry Hope Crealock himself, the great General alone among the deer he loved.

    The caption begins: 'I got to within 160 yards of them, still no-one took any notice of men tho' I was in full sight of the whole herd - fearing they might bolt at any moment......'

    Awaiting the Shot
    Image credit: South Lanarkshire Council