The Programme for 2017
12th April   Alison Martin: Sculpting the Past
As the last surviving member of a remarkable family, Alison Martin could not disguise her pride and passion in the history of her forebears as she addressed the members of FOIL on 12th April. Her great grandfather founded his business George Sutherland &Sons, Sculptors in 1881 and over three generations the skilled craftsmen and their workforce created carvings which can still be seen on buildings, headstones and war memorials throughout the Scottish Borders.
The latter is particularly poignant. Alison’s uncle was killed aged 24 during the Second World War and her talk took place on the centenary of her great uncle’s loss during the Great War. Alison was not alone in having a tear in her eye and a lump in her throat as she recalled these moving stories. It was fascinating to hear that she remembers polishing headstones with cuttlefish bones when visiting for the summer. This little detail made the account so personal and immediate.
Happily, the handsome Post Office building in Galashiels – a wonderful example of the craftsmanship of the Sutherlands – is to be the new home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland and Alison hopes to be able to create an exhibition in the Post Office so that the memory of George Sutherland and Sons lives on.
10th May   Peter Nurick:  V&A Dundee - Creating Scotland's Design Museum
V&A Museum of Design Dundee will be with first purpose-built design museum in the UK outside London and a huge coup for Dundee and Scotland. Come and find out just how far the project has progressed and the plans for the future for this unique and ambitious partnership.

Peter Nurick is Communities Producer at V&A Museum of Design Dundee. Prior to this, he has worked at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, Aberdeen Science Centre, Dundee Science Centre, the Frigate Unicorn and also as a primary school teacher in Perth & Kinross.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and a Post-graduate degree in Primary Education, both from the University of Dundee. Although born in Portsmouth, Peter has lived in Scotland for the last 25 years, the last ten of which in Dundee.He is thrilled to be part of the team delivering V&A Dundee. In his current role, he is responsible for the planning, development and delivery of the programme for local audiences, in particular hard-to-reach groups, marginalised communities and those living in areas of multiple deprivation.

See also

14th June   Dr. Joseph Morrow:  The Court of the Lord Lyon
“The Lord Lyon is not only a Minister of the Crown but also a judge of the Realm; nowadays it is perhaps in this capacity that he comes most in contact with the public, for almost all Scottish heraldic business is conducted on Judicial lines, through the machinery of the Court of the Lord Lyon which exercises both a civil and a penal jurisdiction under the old Common Law of Scotland as well as sundry Acts of Parliament. Scotland and Spain are probably the only countries where a court of heraldry and genealogy still exists in daily operation, before which lawyers plead in wig and gown, though, thanks to the courtesy and interest shown by the Lord Lyon and his officers, most of the business of the ordinary applicant is settled without even the need for legal assistance. The Court of the Lord Lyon indeed reflects, not the curt severity of the Police Court or the Magisterial Bench, but rather the stately benevolence of distant days when our ancient Scottish laws were administered upon the "moot hill" of some old barony or thaneage. “  from the Heraldry Society of Scotland

Dr Joseph (Joe) Morrow KStJ QC DL is the current Lord Lyon King of Arms. He is a most entertaining speaker and will describe the office and functions of the Court of the Lord Lyon as it has evolved over the centuries. Dr Morrow was appointed to the office in January 2014, prior to which he has held a number of other prominent posts. In 2009 he was appointed as Vice Lord Lieutenant of the City of Dundee, having served as a councillor for the Maryfield ward until that year. He is incumbent of the Chapel of Glamis Castle, a former Chancellor of the Diocese of Brechin, and an Honorary Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, Dundee. His interests include ecclesiastical history and the practical application of ceremonial to state, civil, military and ecclesiastical areas of Scottish life, together with over thirty years' experience in the field of heraldry.

See also:

19th July   Andrew Crummy: The Diaspora Tapestry - in 'Crieff Remembers'
In July Crieff will hold an ambitious programme of events to mark 100 years since the 3rd Battle of Ypres: Passchendaele. As part of this programme Crieff will have on display the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. The tapestry is a large embroidery, 164 metres in length, crafted from 305 panels that were embroidered in 34 countries.
The project involved communities around the world in celebration of Scottish heritage and culture, the people and places which connect Scotland to its global diaspora. Having toured the world, the Diaspora Tapestry will be brought to Crieff as part of its Homecoming Tour. Illustrated here is the Welcome panel. It and all others may be viewed at
FOIL is privileged to have Andrew Crummy, the designer of The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry who personally drew out each panel, to explain the community arts process and those involved and the impact it has made. The artwork has over 300 panels and begins to tell the story from 30 countries of how Scots have travelled around the world and the impact they have made. Andrew was born in Craigmillar, Edinburgh studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. He became an illustrator in London, furthered his career in murals and public art, then produced Tapestries including the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

9th August   Dr. Sally-Anne Huxtable: The Drama of The Soul - The Art and
                            Design of Phoebe Anna Traquair at National Museums Scotland
Phoebe Anna Traquair (pictured here in a self-portrait) was one of the most talented artists working within the movement known as the Celtic Revival. Influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, she painted murals for several religious and charitable organisations in Edinburgh, including the Catholic Apostolic Church in Broughton Street which has been called ‘Edinburgh’s Sistine chapel’. She was also a brilliant embroiderer and made exquisite enamel jewellery.

Dr Sally-Anne Huxtable is Principal Curator of Modern and Contemporary Design at National Museums Scotland with responsibility for the collections 1850 - present. She recently curated the new permanent gallery Design for Living, which explores European & American design 1851-1951. Between 2010 - 2013 she was Lecturer in Design History at Northumbria University. From 2008 - 10 she was Research Associate at Dallas Museum of Art, and has also undertaken work for Tate Britain, Museo de Arte de Ponce, the Courtauld and the Prado, as well as lecturing in Art History at University of Bristol. Sally is Editor of the Review of the Pre-Raphaelite Society.

13th September: Sophie Younger - The Art and Science of Textile Conservation
Sophie has performed specialist textile conservation work for organisations such as The Royal Collections Trust, The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. She was deeply involved with salvage work at Glasgow School of Art after the disastrous fire of May 2015. Less dramatically, she has worked on treatment of the upper bed valance on the Mary Queen of Scots bed at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. She will talk about the many preventive aspects of conservation such as light management, good housekeeping, pest monitoring and management and collection surveys.
See also

September 16th Studio visit
As an added bonus members of FOIL will be able to  visit Sophie's studio in Meikleour to see some of her work in practice. The visit is part of the Perthshire Open Studios event, more information of which may be found at
The workshop is not large so the number of visitors at any one time will be limited to 6-8. If you wish to visit the studio please come to the meeting on 13th September where arrangements can be discussed with Sophie.
Note: the date for this has changed. It was originally scheduled for 10th October.

11th October:  Nicola Cowmeadow: Simply a Jacobite Woman? The Life
                                                        Experience of Margaret, Lady Nairne
The life of Margaret, Lady Nairne, shines a light on the tensions that split the noble families of Scotland at the time of the Act of Union in 1707 and in the subsequent uprisings of 1715 and 1745. Lady Nairne was a competent estate administrator who cultivated a broad network of family and political connections in order to further her family’s interests at a time of immense upheaval. Much of her life was spent in the locality of Strathearn, which adds particular local interest.
In her talk, Dr Nicola Cowmeadow, a recent graduate of History at the University of Dundee, will present the important part played by Lady Nairne in rousing support for the Jacobite risings of both 1715 and 1745, drawing on letters and papers to examine the experiences of Lady Nairne and other Jacobite women during and after the risings.

Dr Cowmeadow, who was awarded her PhD in History by the University of Dundee in 2012, is currently employed as the Local History Officer for Perth and Kinross working in Local and Family History at AK Bell Library, Perth.   A Carnegie Scholar, her doctoral thesis was on the theme of ‘Scottish Noblewomen, the Family and Scottish politics, 1688-1707’ (2012) and it is her ongoing interest in women in history which continues to influence her writing and presenting.

All meetings are held in the Schoolroom at Innerpeffray Library.
Light refreshments are served from 7.00 pm.Talks commence at 7.30 pm.

It helps us enormously if we know in advance how many people will attend each event. We would be grateful if you would kindly register your intention to attend one or more of our meetings on the Registration page.
If you know you will be bringing one or more guests please enter the number of guests as well.
Thank you.
Past Meetings
Details of the meetings from previous seasons are shown below

2017 Season
12th April   Annual General Meeting
FOIL AGM minutes (draft)
The 2017 Annual General Meeting of FOIL was held in the schoolroom at the library before the first talk of the 2017 season.

Minutes of the 2016 AGM are available for download clicking on the icon opposite.

A copy of the 2016 accounts as independently reviewed may be downloaded by clicking on the icon opposite.
FOIL Accounts
13th April   Annual General Meeting
The 2016 Annual General Meeting of FOIL was held in the schoolroom at the library before the first talk of the 2016 season.

Minutes of the 2016 AGM will be available for download as soon as they have been approved.

A copy of the 2015 accounts may be downloaded by clicking on the icon opposite.
FOIL Accounts

13th April   Sam MacDonald, Artist and Angler
Muthill-based artist Sam MacDonald enthralled FOIL members with an illustrated talk about how he had managed to combine the two passions in his life – angling and art. Born on the island of Lewis, he was influenced from an early age by nature. He learned welding and blacksmithing at college. When he moved to Orkney and started fishing again he started to blend the two skills, but trying to keep the fish ‘alive’. His work involves building metal sculptures in which each fish is hammered individually and then fitted into the swirling shoals that characterise his work.
While diving off Orkney he observed fish in their own natural habitat and also in wrecks. He began experimenting with different techniques of colouring metal to match what he observed in the submarine world.
Sam is passionate about conservation. His work “Memento Mori” represents species of fish that have either died out or are on the endangered list. Another work “The End of the Line” illustrates a blue fin tuna, the global population of which has been reduced by 96% due to overfishing. In his sculptures he aims to capture special moments in nature and thereby stimulate interest in both nature and conservation.

11th May   John Donaldson: The Royal Palace of Stirling - A Grand Design
In May the storytelling carver John Donaldson brought his humour and historic know how to the Library school room as he described his role in producing the ‘Stirling Heads’; metre wide oak medallions that grace the ceiling of the Kings Inner Hall in Stirling Castle; the originals of which are of such artistic importance they are sometimes called Scotland's other crown jewels. It took John five years to produce accurate copies of 33 roundels; two from drawings one from a fragment of wood and to design a brand new one.
The original heads were made from Polish oak in 1538 from barrel staves that were carved and painted to depict kings, queens nobles and characters from the bible and classical mythology.
John introduced a good turnout of FOIL members to cryptic clues in each carving, how he managed to carve his daughters' faces into the roof of Stirling Castle and his interpretation of what the heads symbolise. Everyone who heard John speak will definitely visit these beautifully painted and carved replicas that have been reproduced with such care.
John is pictured before his talk in the school room garden with FOIL committee member Kim Liddiard.

See also:

4th June   Strathinver - Written by FOIL member Robin Bell

FOIL promoted this special event, all proceeds of which were kindly donated by the author and Crieff Drama Group to Innerpeffray library.

30 years ago Strathinver won the Sony Radio Academy Award for Best British Documentary. Written by FOIL member Robin Bell, Strathinver is a portrayal of small-town life in Scotland in the 1940s and 50s. Although a work of fiction, many in the audience will have recognised Strathinver as Strathearn. The dramatised poem depicted townspeople and country folk, shopkeepers and farmers, the professionally qualified and the clergy, the ‘county set’ and the schoolchildren.

8th June   Wojtek the Soldier Bear - a Polish War Hero
Aileen Orr, author of “Wojtek the Bear – Polish War Hero”, recounted the exploits of the famous bear during WWII. Originally bought by a group of Polish soldiers as a mascot from some Iranian boys, the bear developed from cuddly infant to 500lb giant. Serving in the war alongside his soldier colleagues, most famously at Monte Cassino, Wojtek believed himself to be one of them. Resettled after the war with Polish troops at Winfield camp in Berwickshire he helped to forge a strong bond between the Polish soldiers and the local Scottish community. He was subsequently rehoused in Edinburgh zoo where he became a celebrity attracting thousands of visitors until his death in 1963. Aileen Orr is pictured  with Keeper of Books, Lara Haggerty, examining the chapter on ‘beares’ in “The Historie of Foure Footed Beastes” by Edward Topsell, printed in London in 1607.

To see more about Wojtek paste the following link into your browser:

13th July  The Art and Science of Textile Conservation

Unfortunately Sophie Younger was unable to present her talk due to sustaining injury immediately prior to the date. She would have described how she has performed specialist textile conservation work for organisations such as The Royal Collections Trust, The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. She was deeply involved with salvage work at Glasgow School of Art after the disastrous fire of May 2015. Less dramatically, she has worked on treatment of the upper bed valance on the Mary Queen of Scots bed at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.
Sophie will now present her talk in September 2017. In the meantime to see more about her work please visit her website at

August 2016 - A busy month for FOIL!
On 6th August at the Perth Farmers Market we had a stand promoting the Library and FOIL, which generated a considerable amount of interest. Among those visiting the stand were a grandson of the Librarian in the 1950s and a librarian from Fairfax, Alaska. Manning the stand were FOIL members Kim and Mark Liddiard, Beth McDowall and Peter Parke. We also sold 124 copies of the FOIL Summer Quiz! – largely due to the honey-tongued sales patter of Beth.
The following day we hosted the cake stall at the Drummond Castle Fête. We are most grateful to members for the generous donations of cakes, tarts and other pastries. Despite the windy gusts that threatened to blow away anything not pegged down the stand was constantly busy and we sold almost every item generating over £500 in funds for the Library. Our core sales team included Convenor Jo Ann Munro, Helene Mauchlen, Kim Liddiard and Beth McDowall. Also promoting material from the Library was Robin Bell.

At the regular talk On Wednesday 10 August FOIL members were given a rare and privileged insight into the world of the master craftsman when Graham Stewart came to Innerpeffray library to talk about his life and work as a gold and silversmith. Based in Dunblane, Graham and his small team of highly skilled craftsmen have been producing beautiful unique commemorative pieces, fine functional silver and smaller jewellery items for over forty years. His works have included a commemorative mace for the Pope’s visit to Edinburgh in 2010 and a replica gold post box made for fellow Dunblane resident Andy Murray after his Olympic gold medal win in 2012. Pictured here with Lara Haggerty, in preparing for the talk Graham had spent many hours at Innerpeffray library researching techniques of ore extraction, smelting and processing precious metals in earlier times. Even he had been surprised at how little basic techniques had changed in centuries.

14th September   Plague: Art and the Ultimate Calamity
"1 person in 6 in Dies in Perth Catastrophe"
Had the Strathearn Herald been published in 1585 this is probably what the headlines would have said, as bubonic plague swept through the town. This and similar grim statistics from other parts of Europe formed part of the talk by Dr James Grant MBE in his talk entitled “Art and the Ultimate Calamity”. Dr Grant told the meeting how the bubonic plague has afflicted the population of Europe regularly since the first recorded outbreak in Rome in 540; the last recorded outbreak in Scotland was in Glasgow as recently as 1900. Illustrating how the afflictions of the plague have been represented in art over 700 years, Dr Grant revealed that modern studies had identified that the depiction of catastrophic events had a cathartic effect on survivors. This not only helps to understand the role of plague art in history but is also relevant to the modern day where art is used to assist survivors to recover from post-traumatic stress.

12th October : The Branch Lines of Strathearn
To coincide with the Drovers Tryst programme of events John Young, author of the award-winning book “Branch Lines of Strathearn”, visited FOIL to talk about the impact of the coming of the railways on the local community 160 years ago. Growing up in Auchterarder, John was bitten by the railway bug at an early age and between then and now acquired an encyclopaedic knowledge of the five branch lines that were opened in Strathearn in Victorian times. Crieff, promoted as the ‘Montpelier of Scotland’, was a popular tourist destination and tickets to Crieff could be bought from as far away as Liverpool or London. In 1889 there were 187 boarding houses in Crieff. In the late 1800s there were on average 50 trains per day through Crieff and on one occasion four trains brought 3000 passengers to Crieff on a single day. Despite this high passenger traffic the Caledonian Railway Company’s main income was from the carriage of goods and livestock. As a ‘common carrier’ it carried everything from day-old chicks and racing pigeons to cattle, sheep and horses – even circus elephants on one occasion.  During WWI and WWII the railways were used for troop movements. There was a stores depot at Balgowan and the Gleneagles Hotel was requisitioned as a hospital with its own private line from Gleneagles station for the transportation of injured servicemen.
As the popularity of the motor car grew so the railways declined and what remained of the branch lines of Strathearn were finally axed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s. The last train left Crieff station for Perth on 12th September 1967.

October : The Summer Quiz Answers
The Summer Quiz that was introduced this year proved to be hugely popular. Many people - both FOIL members and non-members - bought a copy and obviously spent a lot of time scratching their heads over the puzzle. Most people thought most of the answers were easy but a relatively small proportion of the entrants managed to get them all.

We have been asked to provide a set of correct answers so here it is! Just click on the picture opposite and download the answer sheet.

Thanks to everyone who took part!

December:  The End of the 2016 Season - Candlelit Carols at Innerpeffray
Under the direction of Joan Taylor  ‘The Innerpeffray Singers’ returned to the unique setting of St Mary’s Chapel on the afternoon  of Sunday December 11 to present a beautiful programme of carols, readings and audience participation accompanied by Gordon Murch.
This Friends of Innerpeffray fundraiser ( FOIL - in aid of the library) comprising an hour of beautiful singing, atmospheric music with  festive and  nostalgic spoken pieces reflecting the finer feelings of Christmas followed by mulled wine and mince pies was the perfect end to the 2016 season.
FOIL would like to thank everyone who supported us in 2016 and we look forward to seeing you at our events in 2017.