The ancient village of Falkland has fascinated travellers and visitors for centuries and close by the beautiful 15th century Palace of Falkland, (which some say is the best example of French-influenced Renaissance architecture in the UK), stands the imposing Maspie House. Built in 1819 by Francis Deas, Provost of Falkland, the house is named after the Maspie Burn that meanders between the garden at the foot of Maspie House and the orchards of Falkland Palace. Provost Deas chose to embellish the front of the building with the addition of a bold and flamboyant castellated stone façade which to this day, ensures that Maspie House remains an eye-catching and focal point in the High Street.
Maspie House, which is only a few steps from the massive gatehouse and entrance to the Palace, was also the residence of Sir George Deas, who was a Lord of Session judge for many years. The building became Falkland’s main Post Office, then a small gift shop, which closed some years ago. But in March 2014, the doors of Maspie House opened to the public once more when Ninian Crichton Stuart, Hereditary Keeper of Falkland Palace, joined artists, local politicians, traders and guests at the launch of the new Maspie House Gallery.
Peta and John McLaren, the present owners of Maspie House, have cleverly transformed the former Post Office and shop area into a beautiful gallery to showcase specially commissioned Scottish art, ceramics, photography bespoke glassware and jewellery. Two of Scotland’s leading artists, Marie Louise Wrightson BA (Hons), MFA and Peter McLaren, featured in the opening exhibition.
Marie Louise Wrightson’s idiosyncratic paintings are instantly recognisable, having been influenced and inspired by fairy tales, cartoons, films and children’s books. The subjects of her bold images (which are oils on board) range from an endless fascination with Alice in Wonderland, to a love for seaside and treats, the occasional Pirate and the culture of High Tea.
Peter McLaren’s superb impressionist paintings, including the series Homage to Velasquez, Car and Couples and Cyclists, are keenly sought after and are exhibited world-wide. Peter studied at the Edinburgh College of Art where he won the John Kinross Scholarship from the Royal Scottish Academy and the Richard Ford Award from the Royal Academy in London which allowed him to study in Florence and Madrid.
Works by contemporary artists such as Susan McGill, Caroline John, .Susie Lacome and Mat Hay are also available.
There was another twist in the continuing story of Maspie House when in October 2013, filming for the US science fiction series ‘Outlander’ transformed Falkland village into how it may have looked during the Second World War. Many of the old historical buildings, including Maspie House, became the backdrop to the action.