A colourful oil painting depicting intricate features of a historic Moray landmark has been unveiled.
Sales of the montage showcasing sections of stained glass windows, wood carvings and stonework from Pluscarden Abbey will fund a £1.8million project to restore buildings at the monastery, which can trace its roots back to the 13th Century.
Yesterday, Elgin artist Alan Dawson, who now lives in Fife, visited the serene location to show the monks his creation.
Brother Michael de Klerk described the painting of his ancient home as “glorious”.
Meanwhile, a pilgrimage was announced from Prinknash, near Gloucester, to Pluscarden to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first Benedictines to travel from England to Moray to inhabit the monastery after its reformation.
Mr Dawson visited the abbey when he was a child, and signed a roof slate about 40 years ago as part of a previous fundraising drive.
He said: “I know one or two of the trustees and they asked me whether I would help out. It’s an extraordinary, ancient building with so many vibrant features, whether it’s stained glass or the furniture.
“It’s quite a challenge to assemble all the items together on the canvas while maintaining the contrasts and keeping it as a complete piece of work.”
A total of 52 historical features of Pluscarden have been assembled on the canvas. At the unveiling, monks gathered round to identify them.
Brother Michael said: “It’s gorgeous, absolutely first-rate. I wouldn’t know where some of pictures have been taken from.”
The original painting is destined to be proudly shown at the abbey. However, 200 prints are being made available to be sold to raise funds for the South Range Appeal.
Campaigners want to restore part of the ancient structure to house the monastery’s 40,000 books in a library as well as a new retreat for women.
A series of auctions and dinners are being organised to contribute to the total ahead of the pilgrimage from Prinknash, which will begin in May.
Lt Col Grenville Johnston, Lord Lieutenant of Moray and chairman of the appeal, said: “It’s a special year this year so we’re looking at doing numerous things.
“When the first five monks came to Pluscarden they were camping in tents. A lot of families helped. It’s nice to celebrate them.”
Prints can be bought by contacting the abbeys’ appeal office in Elgin by phoning 01343 555038.