Admiral's Skye cottage becomes new island berth for artists
He has been described as one of Skye’s “most remarkable characters”. His wide-ranging community involvement included chieftain of the Skye Highland Games and president of the Skye Piping Society.
The keen watercolourist retired from the Royal Navy in 1979 to paint at the cottage at Ollach, overlooking Raasay. Now known as the Admiral’s House, it will be officially opened by Wasps Studios.
Sir Roddy learned to paint at Fettes College in Edinburgh, and is said to have taken his brushes everywhere throughout his 40-year naval career.
His works remain on display at several military museums. Sir Roddy, who died aged 79, said of retiring to Skye: “One good book to close. And another to open”.
Glasgow artist and Benbecula native Martin Campbell will be the first resident of the cottage, which was bequeathed by John Macdonald, the admiral’s son. The other studios are a converted garage and a new timber-built structure.
The project has been jointly organised by Wasps and Skye-based Atlas Arts. Wasps senior executive director for business development Audrey Carlin said: “We hope this new residency will attract creative practitioners from all over the world, drawing an international audience to this uniquely beautiful location.”
Andrew Leitch, creative industries and capital projects officer for Creative Scotland, which helped fund the project, said: “Wasps have transformed the former home of one of Skye’s most remarkable characters through a sympathetic contemporary building solution. It retains the original character of the building in a remarkable new residence for artists.”
Atlas Arts director Emma Nicolson said: “The three studios offer a beautiful setting to create new work and I am sure will be inspiring to many.”
Sir Roddy joined the Royal Navy in 1939, fighting in the Norwegian campaign and later against Japan at the end in the Second World War.
He then served in Cyprus and caught an intruding Soviet submarine in the Cold War.