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Clan Maclean Heritage Trust



Will Maclean: Veering West
Will Maclean, born in Inverness in 1941 and now based in Tayport, Fife, is internationally recognised as a foremost exponent of box construction art. Using found objects which he deconstructs and reconstructs in a display of visual thinking that is compelling, he has developed a unique visual and poetic language. His metaphorical art is based on the histories and mythologies of those who live and work by the sea. His deep interest in Highland culture reaches out to universal themes of navigation, emigration, whaling and fishing, and global exploration. He has exhibited widely since 1967 and his work is in numerous public collections, including: Arts Council of Great Britain; The British Museum; Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow City Art Galleries; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Scottish Arts Council; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; McMaster Museum, Canada; Yale Centre for British Art, Newhaven, USA.
There is now an exhibition of new and retrospective work by him at the An Lanntair Gallery in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. It includes mixed media abstract sculptures (“Lifeboat Allegory”, “Rudder Guardians”), box constructions juxtaposing the fictive and the historic (“Navigators Box”, “Atlantic Messengers”) and, on display for the first time, a series of prints from his poetic collaboration with John Burnside, The Catechism of the Laws of Storms - a publication of poems written in response to collaged images by Maclean, editions of which are included in the exhibition, which runs from 8th August until 20th September 2015.
For more details, see


I Heart Scotland

I Heart Scotland is a solo show by Scottish artist Rachel Maclean which explores national pride and local history through a quirky collection of print and film, in response to the upcoming Referendum on Scottish Independence. The exhibition features a series of prints which make surreal reference to historical figures, politicians and national stereotypes, from picturesque Scottish landscapes to Clyde the Commonwealth Games mascot. Rachel Maclean is the only actor in the work, where she mimes to audio taken from Hollywood films, political speeches and TV interviews, and in her film The Lion and The Unicorn, which plays as part of the exhibition. I Heart Scotland will tour schools and community centres around Scotland during February-May 2014 in the Travelling Gallery, a custom-built art space inside a large bus.
For more information about the exhibition, see the Travelling Gallery website. This includes the dates and locations of the tour. Rachel Maclean also has her own website.


Fort Dewart
On 20th - 22nd September 2013 the Trust and Clan Gillean USA, in partnership with the Folmont Property Owners Association (FPOA), attended a ceremony re-dedicating Fort Dewart in Folmont, Pennsylvania. The ceremony was attended by the Chief and by two Trustees of the Heritage Trust, Ian MacLean and Judge Sandra McLean.

Fort Dewart was a fortification built on Allegheny Mountain in Pennsylvania in 1758 by Captain Sir Allan Maclean of Brolas, the then Chief of Clan Maclean. The name pays homage to the large number of Macleans recruited by him into the 77th Regiment of Foot (Montgomery's Highlanders). The earthworks remain intact. The Trust with Clan Gillean USA have provided a plaque and a storyboard.
On the Friday, the Chief, Trustees, Presidents of CMAs and local leaders were given a special tour of Fort Ligonier, where they saw the flag of the Montgomery Highlanders, as well as a map that showed where the Montgomery Highlanders were encamped when they were at Ligonier. On the following day the group attended the Ligonier Games, which the Chief officially opened. In the evening the FPOA hosted a most enjoyable reception attended by about 50 Macleans.

l to r: Ian MacLean, Trustee; Peter Folen, Folmont Property Owners Association; re-enactor; the Chief; Montgomery Highlander; Fr Patrick Maclean, Clan Gillean USA

The re-dedication on the Sunday was attended by about 100 guests. Father Patrick Maclean, President of Clan Gillean USA, gave a dedication prayer. The Chief spoke about the Trust and about Captain Sir Allan Maclean and his kinsmen who built the fort and named it. Peter Folen, a representative of the FPOA and a keen supporter of Fort Dewart, spoke about the campaign to have Fort Dewart recognized as a U.S. National Historic Site and the efforts that had led to it being preserved. The Chief, Ian MacLean and Judge Sandra McLean unveiled the plaque. Peter Folen, Father Patrick and the Chief unveiled the storyboard.

A full report about this weekend can be down-loaded from here. The storyboard, for which Larry Andrews produced the artwork and Carley La Ville of The EADS Group, Inc. was the artistic creator, and which explains the historical importance of Fort Dewart, may be read here.
J. Angus MacLean (1914 - 2000)
On 14th September 2013 the Trust joined with Clan Maclean Atlantic Canada, the local Belfast Historical Society and the Caledonian Club of Prince Edward Island, as well as members of J. Angus MacLean's family, to unveil a plaque and a storyboard commemorating his achievements.

George MacLean, President, Clan Maclean Atlantic Canada, and Ian MacLean, Trustee

The Hon. J. Angus MacLean PC, OC, DFC was born and died in Prince Edward Island. He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. The story of his bomber being shot down over Holland in 1942, how he evaded capture for three months, despite having injured his back when landing by parachute, and his return to the UK via Belgium, France and Spain, is told in his memoirs, Making It Home (1998).
He was first elected to Parliament in 1951 and held his seat continuously until he resigned in 1976, having been re-elected nine times. He served as Minister of Fisheries from 1957 until 1963. He was elected Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island in 1976 and led his party to victory in the 1979 election. He was Premier of Prince Edward Island from May 1979 until he retired from this post in November 1981.
The plaque is fixed to a sandstone boulder in a wooded area a short distance from the Croft House Museum in Belfast, PEI. Surrounding it are four recently planted holly bushes. A storyboard stands nearby. Over 150 people attended the ceremony. A full report of this can be downloaded from here.
l to r: Ian MacLean, Trustee: Darlene Compton, Belfast Historical Society, Rob MacLean, son; Wilbur MacDonald (seated), Caledonian Club of Prince Edward Island; George MacLean, President of Clan Maclean Atlantic Canada; Gwen MacLean (seated), widow; Allan MacLean, son

On 26th – 30th July 2013 two Trustees of the Heritage Trust, Nigel Alington and Sandy McLean, were among a group of Macleans who undertook a hugely enjoyable and successful visit to Sweden. The object was to see various items that are an important part of the Maclean heritage. We visited several museums and private houses containing historic Maclean portraits and other items.

Baron Rutger Maclean

The Saturday was spent mainly at Svaneholm Castle in southern Sweden, the home of Baron Rutger Maclean (1742-1816), the 4th and last Friherre [Baron] Maclean of Sweden and 6th and last Baronet of Dowart, who pioneered land reform in Sweden in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by introducing large-scale farming with its economies of scale. The Castle contains a museum dedicated to the various owners of the Castle, with two rooms devoted to Baron Rutger.

Later that day we visited the home of Baron Carl Henrik Leijonhielm in Malmö, in order to view the oldest known Maclean portrait in existence, the portrait of Lilian Hamilton (d. 1658), second wife of Sir John Maclean (c1599-1666), 1st Adlad [Noble] Macklier and 1st Baronet of Dowart. This portrait (see photo) has never left the ownership of the Hamilton family, the Baron's grandmother having been a Hamilton.
On the Monday we visited the regimental headquarters of the Royal Lifeguards at Kungsängen, just outside Stockholm, where hangs a portrait of a portrait of Baron Johan Adolf Maclean (1694-1761) by Johan David Swartz, dated 1728, on loan from the Nationalmuseum. We then drove to Brunneby Manor, which was owned by Baron Gustaf Adolf Maclean (1693-1779) from 1752 until his death and which contains several Maclean portraits.

On the Tuesday we visited the Riddarhuset [House of Nobility] in Stockholm's Gamla Stan [Old Town], in order to see the coats of arms of Sir John Maclean (as above), see photo, and his son Baron David Maclean of Gäsevadholm (1646-1708), 1st Friherre [Baron] which hang in the Great Hall there. We also visited the Church of Santa Clara, where Baroness Elisabet Mariana Maclean (1740-1814) of Brunneby lies buried with her husband, General Baron Adolf von Siegroth.
Finally we visited the Kungliga Myntkabinettet [Royal Coin Cabinet] in the National Museum of Economy, which was supposed to be displaying a gold coin featuring Baron Rutger Maclean. Although we never found this, and no-one at the Museum knew where it was, we did see silver and copper versions of the medal, which had previously been unknown to us.
A fuller report on this trip can be seen on the webpage of the Clan Maclean Association of England and Wales here.

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