Robert Home – 1865-1938, the son of an artist, was an Edinburgh-born portrait and landscape painter, illuminator and stained-glass designer who learnt his trade at Edinburgh Art School. He exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Royal Academy of Arts and Royal Scottish Academy.
Home was an authority on heraldic designs, skilled as an illuminator of manuscripts. In 1895 he married Helen Bonallo with whom he had 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter. However by 1918 he was separated from his wife and moved to Ceres.
The frontispiece to a photo album illuminated by Robert Home, his signature can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner.
Home lived in Ceres from 1918 until his death in 1938. President of the Scottish Society of Artists, he was a skilled portraitist and also produced many paintings of local scenes. Home lived in Burnside Cottage with fellow artist, Eveline Jolly.
Burnside Cottage, Ceres.
Home came to Ceres at the end of the 1st World War but after seven years his eyesight began to fail. For four years he worked as a librarian at Crieff Library and his eyesight improved, gradually returning to his art activities.
Watching Ceres Games 1920. Home and house guests would watch the Games from the roof of the shed at the foot of the Burnside Cottage garden.
1 ‘Ceres’ watercolour. Private collection. 2 Right. Ceres Green. Fife Folk Museum. 3 Bottom right. Newtown, Burnside, Ceres.
Home was a prominent Freemason and was Depute Master of the Canongate, Edinburgh Lodge. Home was installed as master of the Lodge St Regulus, Cupar becoming its first ‘Right Worshipful Master’. From 1920-1922. He was President of the SSA (Scottish Society of Artists) 1915-1918.
Eveline Jolly and Robert Home. Eveline Jolly 1954. ‘Portrait of a Gentleman’ 1920. Probably a self portrait.
Eveline Jolly 1884-1961 was born in Edinburgh December 1884 the daughter of the Rev. James Jolly and his wife Georgina (nee Adam). She was the second youngest of eight children, 5 boys and 3 girls.
Fellow artist Eveline Isobelle Jolly joined Home at Burnside Cottage she was a watercolour artist and illustrator also residing at St George’s Lodge, Earlsferry. Jolly exhibited at the Royal Society of Artists annual exhibitions after 1940. Apparently when buildings were pulled down in Main Street, Ceres she was the only one to object ! Jolly lived at Burnside Cottage until her death at Cupar’s Adamson Hospital in 1961. She is buried in the family grave in Grange Cemetery, Edinburgh.
Like many artists of his day Home made a living by portrait painting. 1 Alexander Taylor Innes (1833-1912), Tain Council Chamber. 2 David Berry Hart, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. 3 Professor David Morisson (1868-1936), Wardlaw Museum. 4 Sir Thomas Richard Fraser (1841-1920), University of Edinburgh. 5 Margaret Lessels Robertson (detail). 1918,
The portrait of Margaret Lessels Robertson, Ardhu, Cupar created great interest when it was displayed at the Royal Scottish Academy. Margaret knew both artists well (known affectionately as Peggy), one of her granddaughters Mary Ellen remembers spending time with Eveline (Aunt Eva).
Home died in Dundee on the 10th August 1938 aged 73 survived by a wife and three sons he had been ill for only a few days but, it was said, died of a shock! He is buried in Ceres Church graveyard.
A St Andrews ‘Citizen’ obituary states: ’Deeply interested in people, he was full of a generous humanity and kindliness and his gifts of conversation and humour brought him many friends in the circles in which he moved. He was interested too, in public questions and concerned for the welfare and progress of the beautiful village where in the summer he lived for twenty years and which he loved with all the artist’s love of beauty.’
Peggy’s granddaughter Mary Ellen knew both artists, one of her strongest memories is of watching Ceres Highland Games sitting on the roof of the shed at the foot of Burnside Cottage garden.
‘There would be several adults and children all sitting on the roof watching the Games. It was quite an adventure climbing up the ladder onto the roof, which must have been stronger than it looks now ! The highlight of the Games was the Horse Race at the end. It was so exciting – all these fast horses thundering round the course on the edge of the Games Park The corners were very tight. Everyone had someone they were rooting for. From our vantage point we had a great view of the straight along the side of the burn. Very dangerous, but so exciting for a child.’
‘I remember dad talking about what a practical joker ‘Uncle Bob’ was. His strongest memory was of ‘Uncle Bob’ getting into a bath fully clothed ad pretending there was nothing wrong.’
‘Aunt Eva seemed somehow French, she was very underweight , wore a black beret and smoked a lot.’
Mary Ellen Herdman (Robertson) 20.08.17.
The full size photo of Home’s superb portrait of Margaret Lessels Robertson, sadly some of the colour lost in this photo.
Many thanks to the Fife Folk Museum, Ceres for help updating (July 2022) this blog.
Graham Bennison, September 2020. https://www.facebook.com/BennisonArtist
Some of my own Ceres art can be found at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/bennisonartist