12 Apostles

This is James’s interpretation of ‘the twelve apostles’, a picturesque row of cottages at Catacol, a tiny village on the Isle of Arran. They were originally intended for the inhabitants of the old clachan at the head of the small burn Abhainn Bheag, who were displaced by the highland clearances to make way for deer, which were being raised to satisfy the gentry’s enthusiasm for deer stalking.

The theory was these former sheep farmers would turn to fishing, and with this in mind, each of the twelve cottages had a different shaped first floor window. This would enable the woman of the house to signal her husband by placing a candle in the window while he was out fishing in the Firth of Clyde. Husbands would immediately know who was being signaled by the shape of the lighted window.

In reality, most of the dispossessed moved away to other parts of the island in protest against their eviction, and the houses on ‘hungry row’ as they became known remained empty for at least two years, until tenants finally moved in. Today, it would be hard to distinguish one window from another, as they all appear remarkably similar in size and shape.

In James’s illustration, some surrounding structures and outbuildings have been deliberately removed to so as to focus on the cottages and to suggest a time before the advent of the motorcar, the carbon fibre racing bike and the mobile phone (thankfully, the mobile signal is still blissfully unreliable). In the distance, you can see the mainland towns of Skipness and possibly Claonaig where the roll-on-roll off ferry shuttles passengers and vehicles to Scotland’s west coast. The deer and sheep are a subtle nod to the past.

The Douglas Hotel on the Isle of Arran is exhibiting this edition and others in the Arran series and are available to buy ‘off the wall’ .


This signed print is one of a limited edition. It’s recorded on Hahnemühle stock via a large format mimeograph and generally referred to as Giclée prints of premium quality. The paper is white 100% a-cellulose with a distinct textured surface and the premium matt inkjet coating more than meets the highest industry standards vis-à-vis density, colour gamut, colour graduation and image sharpness, while preserving the extraordinary touch and feel of genuine art paper. The editions depicted on Iconic Reserve are not representative of scale and solely for the purpose of suggestive display.



Signed limited edition
1 of 100, 420mm x 597mm
Recorded on Hahnemühle
Arran collection