Murray steps in to save Buchan portrait from the rubbish tip

John Buchan portrait. Lady Deborah Stewartby and Murray Charters.
John Buchan portrait. Lady Deborah Stewartby and Murray Charters.

THE family of John Buchan, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps, has been reunited with a portrait of the writer’s brother.

Buchan’s grand-daughter, Lady Deborah Stewartby, accepted the portrait back into Buchan hands after it was saved from being thrown into a skip.

Buchan’s brother, Walter, lived and worked in Peebles as a solicitor and town clerk for many years. It was his portrait which sat in the offices of J. & W. Buchan, Writers, until they merged with other legal firms in the town.

After a clear-out of the premises, the quick thinking of one of the former partners, Murray Charters, saved the portrait from being thrown out with a load of rubbish – and he presented it to Lady Stewartby at a ceremony held at the John Buchan Centre in Broughton.

The event also celebrated the work of the museum volunteers. The pupils of Broughton Primary School also raised the money for a picture easel and the portrait now has pride of place in the centre.

The oil painting was commissioned during the late 1940s and was probably painted by Edinburgh artist Edward Drummond Young, although research is ongoing to establish the exact details.

The John Buchan Centre is open for the summer season from May 1 to mid-October, 2-5pm daily.

John Buchan, who died in 1940, is one of Scotland’s most famous authors, chiefly remembered for The Thirty-Nine Steps, but he was also a prodigious writer of other material, as well as becoming Governor General of Canada.