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George Alexander Eugene Douglas (Dawyck) Haig


(2nd Earl Haig of Bemersyde; Viscount Dawyck)

1918 - 2009

Painter and public servant. Born in Kingston upon Thames (England), the only son of Field Marshal Earl Haig (1861 - 1928), he moved with his family to Bemersyde in the Scottish Borders in 1924, succeeding to his father's title in 1928. Haig was educated Stowe School and Christ Church, Oxford.

He saw action during World War II in the Western Desert in 1942 but was taken prisoner and spent time in Colditz Castle. He turned to drawing and painting to wile away the hours, including sketching his fellow prisoners. The resulting work was exhibited in Edinburgh in 1945. Haig subsequently studied art at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London (1945-47). His style attempted to convey his intense visual experience of landscape and marked him out as a painter with his own strong message, who did not conform to any particular artistic trend of the times.

From the early 1960s onwards he also engaged widely in Scottish public life and held a number of honorary posts including National Chairman (1962-65) and President (1980-86) of the British Legion (Scotland), Trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland (1962-72), Member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland (1958-61), President of the Scottish Arts Council (1980-86), President of the Earl Haig Fund (1980-86) and Deputy Lieutenant of Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale from 1977. Haig was awarded an OBE in 1966 for his work with ex-servicemen and elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1988.

A major retrospective exhibition of his paintings was held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh in 2003 and an accompanying book, Haig the painter, was published to mark the occasion.

He died at the Borders General Hospital.


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