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Ralph Steadman’s ‘Whisky & Writers’ at The Carnegie Club

Posted: 18 October 2017

As part of its ongoing ‘Arts at Skibo’ programme of events, bringing members the very best in music, art and culture, The Carnegie Club is proud to host Ralph Steadman’s ‘Whisky & Writers’ exhibition in the Skibo Gallery. Having opened in June, club members have been able to enjoy a carefully curated selection of the iconic artist’s prints over the past few months. Originally scheduled to close in September, the show has been such a success that it was extended due to popular demand and will now run until the end of the year, allowing members visiting over the festive period to experience Ralph’s work in person.

Ralph Steadman

Legendary artist Ralph Steadman, photographed at Skibo Castle during the opening weekend of the ‘Whisky and Writers’ exhibition

Ralph is one of Britain’s most esteemed illustrators. His incisive political cartoons and satirical social sketches have graced the pages of publications PunchPrivate EveThe New York Times and Rolling Stone as well as book jackets, album covers and film posters (including cult classic Withnail & I). Steadman is perhaps most famous internationally for his collaborative work with gonzo journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, for whom he provided the iconic illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Ralph Steadman’s ‘Laphroaig Distillery (The beautiful hollow by the broad bay)’

Ralph Steadman’s ‘Laphroaig Distillery (The beautiful hollow by the broad bay)’

In the 1990’s, Ralph was asked by wine merchant Oddbins to explore Scotland and its distilleries, and so he embarked gamely on the legendary whisky trail. What resulted was a fascination for an industry rich in folklore that is steeped in mysterious tales as dark as peat and, even more so, for the magical liquid that it produces. Travelling the length and breadth of Scotland and its islands, Ralph visited distilleries from Glen Garioch in the Highlands, to Ardbeg and Bowmore in Islay, and to Tamdhu in Speyside he discovered a glorious golden range of whisky and explored the landscapes upon which they depend. He talked to the quirky characters who create the whiskies, and to the workers and distillers whose nose for nuances of every inhalation brings them ‘as close as a human being will ever get to emulating the homing instinct of a salmon’. He looked at the art of blending and the craft of cooperage, at the skill required to choose just the right amount of peat to fire a kiln and at the cunning needed to smuggle an illicit dram in a pair of wellington boots past a watchman. He discovered truly great whiskies, and also some unexpected finds along the way.                                                                                  

The Carnegie Club’s Alan Grant chats to guests about the exhibit during cocktails in the Skibo Gallery

The Carnegie Club’s Alan Grant chats to guests about the exhibit during cocktails in the Skibo Gallery

The ‘Whisky & Writers’ show features not only a selection of Ralph’s whisky-themed works inspired by his sojourn in the north, but also a collection of limited edition etchings of authors including Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf and – Ralph’s cohort and friend – William Boroughs. There are also selected prints from Ralph’s Gonzo and Picasso series’ on show, offering members a rarely experienced chance to appreciate the breadth of the legendary artist’s work.

To find out more about the work of Ralph Steadman, visit

The ‘Whisky & Writers’ exhibition will be on show at Skibo until the end of the year.

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