Could Hunter painting mystery finally be ‘put to bed’?

The image taken from Jim's bedroom many years ago. Comparing it to Hunter's painting, the resemblance is very clear
The image taken from Jim's bedroom many years ago. Comparing it to Hunter's painting, the resemblance is very clear
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It seems Fifers may have solved the mystery location of one of the Kingdom’s most famous paintings, once and for all.

For a number of people have contacted us this week offering good reasons as to the ‘real’ location of Scottish colourist painter George L Hunter’s Sunrise of Fife Harbour.

Hunter's painting 'Sunrise over Fife Harbour'

Hunter's painting 'Sunrise over Fife Harbour'

Following research carried out by Liverpudlian poet and playwright Philip Bowen recently, he was convinced his detective work pointed to the mystery location being that of Lower Largo.

But following our story in the Press last week, it now seems almost certain Hunter committed the scene to canvas some nine miles further up the Fife coast in St Monans.

And one who had more reason to believe that is life-long St Monans resident, Jim Smith.


Because he thinks Hunter could have painted the harbour scene from the bedroom in which he was born.

“As soon as I read the story I knew the exact location of Hunter’s painting, as it was the view from my window,” Jim told the Press.

And to prove it, Jim refers to an old photograph of the harbour he took from his bedroom window.

“The harbour wall and the sea defence is identical to that of the painting, it couldn’t be anywhere else,” he added.

Jim lived in the house at Brae Head until 20 years ago and still lives just yards away.

“I do remember my grandfather allowing another artist to paint from the house, so it further suggests Hunter painted the picture from this location.”

And having spent his entire life in the small village , the 81-year-old also pointed to the the various boats and vessels depicted in Hunter’s painting, were synonymous with the St Monans harbour at the time the painting as created around 1920.

“The ‘drifter’ boats would have been far to big to be moored at Largo and the Fife ‘steamies’ too,” explained Jim.

Playwright Philip Bowen told the Press he was intrigued by the new information which, he says,threw new light on his ongoing research.

“It’s fascinating news. I plan to return to Fife very soon, meet Jim and see from the exact location for myself.” he said.