Rare and spectacular unseen paintings of Largs and Skelmorlie which date back to the early 1800s are going under the hammer in an online auction on February 24.

In private hands and out of public view for decades, Auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull are set to offer 'an unusual and highly important album of sketches' by artist Sir James Skene of Rubislaw.
The estimate which has been set for the auction is £10,000-£12,000.

A picture overlooking the valley and the Clyde Coast panorama is among the paintings in the auction with the title 'Field of the Battle of Largs', while one of the most interesting shows large crowds and tents on the beach to mark St Colm's Fair which was an annual tradition in the town.
Another fascinating drawing of the period shows Largs shoreline busy with various boats and ships, and a countryside picture in the collection shows a scenic picture of Skelmorlie.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
A spokesperson for Lyon and Turnbull said: "The album comprises 420 sketches, the vast majority by Skene, and appears to have strong links to the artist’s close friendship with Sir Walter Scott. 
"In private hands and out of public view for decades, it is now possible to examine the album closely and investigate the artistic partnership between the author and the artist."
The sketches in a range of pencil and ink wash, including some full page illustrations and other smaller studies, all laid into an album dating from 1793-1834.
The drawings have strong links to the artist's close friendship with eminent Scots author Sir Walter Scott who lived in 1 Gallowgate Square, Largs, for a short period of time.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
Skene produced a series of sketches of the scenes around Scotland which alluded to in the Waverley novels.
The album is thought to have been purchased at auction in the 1950s by the Stevenson lighthouse family.
The friendship between Skene and Scott seems to have been a creative collaboration and Scott used many of Skene's illustrations as inspiration and aid memoires for his descriptions of landscape and scenery. 
James Skene attended Edinburgh high school, and at 21 he went to Germany as a student, and, returning to Edinburgh, was admitted to the Scottish bar as an advocate in 1797. His friendship with Sir Walter Scott was built on his knowledge of German literature.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
For the health of his family, Skene went to Greece in 1838, staying for several years near Athens, in a villa built to his own design. Returning in 1844, he lived first at Leamington Spa and then at Frewen Hall, Oxford, where he died on 27 November 1864.
The spokesperson added: "Although some sketches in the album appear to have been utilised after 1831, the vast majority have continued their repose, undisturbed for nearly 200 years. The existence of the album itself it little known and it does not seem to have featured in any exhibitions or research papers relating to Scott or Skene to date.
"By profession, Skene was a lawyer, being admitted to the Scottish bar in 1797, however he was also a keen and talented amateur artist. Around the time of his admittance to the bar, Skene formed a close friendship with Sir Walter Scott.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:
"A wealth of research could yet be conducted into the links between Skene's drawings and the illustrations for Scott's works, alongside comparisons with Skene's memories and Scott's letters, tying the album into the pair's friendship.
" It is surely a remarkable collection of illustrations which capture the sights and experiences encountered by one of Scotland's greatest and most influential writers, and his close friend."
For auction details, go here: www.lyonandturnbull.com/news/article/sir-james-skene-of-rubislaw/