Painting a picture of the past ...

18th annual Burntisland Heritage Exhibition
18th annual Burntisland Heritage Exhibition

BURNTISLAND’S colourful characters from the past form the basis of the 18th annual Burntisland Heritage Exhibition which is now open.

‘A Scottish Fair’ was painted in 1910 by Andrew Young (1854-1925) and is well-loved among the people of town.

It is based on the annual Burntisland Links Fair, and everyone in the painting – 110 people in total – lived in the town at the time, while the 11 fairground shows depicted are all genuine acts from that era.

Characters from the painting are all revealed in the annual exhibition at the Heritage Centre in the Kirkgate, which runs until September 1.

After being exhibited in London and Dundee, the painting was purchased by the owner of the Crown Tavern in Burntisland. It was last known to have been exhibited in the Art and Antiquities Exhibition in Burntisland in 1956.

Its whereabouts after this became a mystery, although it was rumoured to have gone over to America.


In October 2007 the painting then re-emerged and came to the attention of the staff at Kirkcaldy Museum when they were informed of its auction at Christies.

The museum made an unsuccessful bid to bring the painting back to Scotland.

It was bought by a private collector in London, who kindly loaned it to Kirkcaldy Museum for an exhibition in June 2009.

The Scottish Fair exhibition has been revised this year and is the main feature in the Summer Heritage Exhibition.

As well as being a local artist who lived and worked in Burntisland, Andrew Young was also a historian and professional photographer in the relatively early days of commercial photography.


The exhibition features around 50 examples of his art and photographic work, and is open on Wednesdays from 1.00-4.00 p.m. and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

It also features a large collection of other types of historical material relating to the town’s fascinating history for browsing, including a number of DVDs. The latest addition to the collection is ‘Then and Now’ which has been produced from last year’s successful ‘Changing Landscapes’ display. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Burntisland’s summer exhibitions have been running every year with many different themes since 1994.