Artist needs faces for giant Bannockburn mural

Chris Rutterford gets to grips with the canvas. Picture: Pako Mera
Chris Rutterford gets to grips with the canvas. Picture: Pako Mera
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THE battle lines are drawn . . . now all that is needed is an army.

Artist Chris Rutterford, 40, is looking for people to enlist for a giant canvas of the Battle of Bannockburn, featuring more than a thousand 
combatants.

The mural – depicting the Scots victory over the English in June 1314 – is being produced in the build-up to the 700th anniversary 
celebrations.

Recruits can sign up tomorrow at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the High Street, and pay between £10 and £750 to become a part of history.

Depending on how much people pay, portraits will range from four-foot heads on the frontline to those who are more battle shy, hanging back in the distance.

Proud Scots from across the globe are expected to join the army, with Scotland rugby union ace Alastair Kellock, 32, the first big name to sign up at a charity auction. Illustrator Chris, was last seen painting the massive Hogmanay painting on the Royal Mile at the Tron Kirk, said he wanted the painting to be inclusive for all and therefore was not an entirely accurate depiction.

He said: “I’ve got women and children signing up for it as well as men. People have been buying it as Father’s Day gifts, presents for partners – it’s open to anyone who wants to be a part of it.

“Some people have started to ask if it was a political 
statement but it certainly wasn’t meant as that on my part. It’s just time to put your best battle face on – whatever that might be.

“One of the best models so far was my mother-in-law who has got a really scary face on. If you want to build a realistic crowd, you need variations of expression, it can’t be all the same thing so I don’t want a bunch of portrait shots all looking towards the front.”

The tradition of paying to be in pictures goes back centuries with many of the old masters happy to encourage the 
practice.

People can sign up online and follow instructions on how to submit their pictures.

Euan McKenzie, 43, of Meadowbank, said he had long been an admirer of the artist’s work and jumped at the chance to be in this latest epic.

He said: “I’ve known Chris and his work for a while and love what he does. I’d really wanted to get into one of his painting and this came up. I’ve even asked for my Labrador Maisie to be in it. I’m not sure what expression I’m going to pull yet but I’m looking forward to see it when it’s done.”

Tomorrow’s event will allow Chris to take snaps of people he can work from. When completed the panorama will be exhibited at the new Bannockburn heritage centre in Stirlingshire.

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com