For over 170 years, Blairs College was home to a magnificent collection of paintings, church textiles, sacred silver and Jacobite memorabilia belonging to the Scottish Roman Catholic Church. From its establishment in 1829 as the national junior seminary, the college was recognized as a safe place to receive and preserve artifacts relating to Scotland’s Catholic heritage.
Although the college closed in 1986, the museum remains and is crammed full of glittering treasures. There are about 60 oil paintings and their religious and historical subject matter are a unique reflection of the original purpose of the college to educate young boys to enter the Roman Catholic Church.
The paintings include a fifteenth-century panel from a triptych yet also encompass the work of 20th-century iconic artists from the north-east of Scotland. Paintings in the collection include the renowned 'Mary Queen of Scots Memorial Portrait', which is a virtually life size image of the Scottish queen who died for her faith. To the delight of many school children the painting graphically depicts the three blows needed to sever her head from her neck.
The works here are reproduced with kind permission of Blairs Museum and The Scottish Catholic Heritage Commission.