The Lord High Commissioner makes historic visit to St Patrick’s and the Runciman Apse murals.

250 Years On:  The Duke of Buccleuch inspects his family’s long lost artistic legacy

Saturday 18th May 2019.

The 10th Duke of Buccleuch has paid his first ever visit to one of his family’s long lost artistic legacies – the recently re-discovered mural of The Ascension by 18th century painter Alexander Runciman in St Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh.

“It was fascinating to visit the church, to see the Runciman mural and to hear of the ambitious plans to restore it, especially given the strong associations with my family,” said the Duke following his visit, Saturday 18 May.

This week the Duke of Buccluech has been representing Her Majesty the Queen as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. He took time out from his duties to visit the nearby St Patrick’s Church where he was welcomed by parish priest, Monsignor Philip Kerr. The Duke was then given a tour of the church followed by a short talk on the Runciman murals by Professor Duncan McMillan introduced by Lord Hardie.

“The Runciman murals are of outstanding national, and international,importance for their uniqueness  and – from an art historical perspective – their contribution to the development of religious art in Scotland and we hope to uncover the mural and restore it and the side paintings to their original, strikingly colourful, narrative ,” explained art historian Teresa Keenan who is project and fundraising manager for the Runciman Apse Trust.

“That’s why it was so good to welcome the Duke of Buccleuch as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly as we are keen to work with a broad cross-section of Scottish society on this significant  project  as well as champion the ecumenical importance of our endeavours expressed both in the history of the church and our board of Trustees”.

The Duke holding an extract from the 18th century register recording the donations by his ancestors in 1772.

The Duke learns about the fundraising campaign to restore the nationally and internationally significant artworks from Monsignor Kerr (right) and Teresa Keenan (left).

The Duke discusses his enthusiasm for the project with professor Duncan MacMillan(right).

Chairman of the Runciman Apse Trust, Lord Andrew Hardie, explains the remit of the Trust and its fundraising campaign.

All images courtesy of Diego G. Luna.