Local artist Dan Munro recalls the beauty of stone, gardens on razed property

John Brannen
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Local artist Dan Munro of Gairloch holds his painted plate of MacLellan House. The building, now demolished, joins the ranks of other structures Munro has painted that have been destroyed. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS

GAIRLOCH – For one local artist, the destruction of the historic MacLellan house in Blue Acres is something he can’t simply brush off.

Dan Munro, a native of Gairloch, is self-taught in the art of painting, which has been his vocation for over 20 years. One of his locally well-known plate paintings was of MacLellan House.

“I was shocked,” said Munro. “It all happened so fast.”

The house, believed to have been built with Scottish stone about 200 years ago, was slowly taken down on Monday. All but the foundations are down at the site.

But Munro’s painting, and his own memory recall a house and property that was lush with vibrant gardens and a majestic stone building.

“The reason I enjoyed the house was the beautiful gardens and house next to MacLellan’s Brook,” he said. Munro recalls the countless couples who came to have their photos taken on the property after their weddings.

Munro befriended the building’s owner at the time, Frank Thompson, and visited the property often, walking among the flowers and rose bushes. “I love gardening and, to be honest, this place was a modern day Garden of Eden.”

It was a haven for painters and photographers. Since Munro already had a fondness for painting Pictou County’s historic buildings, painting MacLellan house was inevitable.

He started a painted plate collector series, that featured three buildings: McCulloch House Museum in Pictou, MacLellan House in Blue Acres and MacPhersons Mills Grist Mill and farm homestead.

Only 500 copies of each plate were produced. Munro gingerly handles his only plate of the MacLellan house, plate number 400.

“I’ve loved painting buildings in the area and it’s sad to think that something like this plate may be the only memory for some people.”

His works include schools, churches, post offices, town halls railway stations and other buildings that have been or may be in danger of being torn down.

“We’ve got to hold on to some of these properties,” said Munro. “Understanding and celebrating our past is key to our future.”

 

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: MacLellan House, McCulloch House Museum

Geographic location: GAIRLOCH, Blue Acres, Pictou County Garden of Eden

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  • Dianne Smith
    June 15, 2013 - 00:26

    That is really too bad. They didn't know its history John Rose 1775-1839(gr gr gr grandf)Iinvergordon, Rosshire, Scotland married to Isabella Calder1775-1857,*[ first born John Rose died May 13 1831]* Master Mason built McLennen Stone House in Blue Acres I would like a piece of that stone.

  • BP
    February 27, 2013 - 12:48

    We have plate # 260 on our wall.

  • john niblett
    February 27, 2013 - 07:27

    As a regular visitor to Pictou from England I was lucky enough to meet Dan Munro at Chistmas and can only endorse what he says about some of your lovely old buildings, something must be done to preserve them they are your history.

  • Carol Jackson
    February 27, 2013 - 00:51

    We should be very thankful that we have an artist like Dan Munro in our midst who has captured so much of Pictou County's history. Without him we would have little knowledge of our own history. It is sad that in these tough economical times that we can't afford to save these old buildings. But we can be thankful that our artists have done so. For this we should give thanks.

  • richard mckay
    February 26, 2013 - 22:07

    that old house would have looked good here in springville. anyway who get's the stone i would love to have it to build new from the very old. that would be recycleing at it's very best.