Leader comment: John Byrne creates ‘inimitable’ art for Sturgeon

John Byrne with Nicola Sturgeon and the Christmas card image he created (Picture: Getty)
John Byrne with Nicola Sturgeon and the Christmas card image he created (Picture: Getty)
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The addition of John Byrne to the list of eminent Scottish artists – including the likes of Peter Howson, Elizabeth Blackadder and Jack Vettriano – who have painted the First Minister’s Christmas cards is a richly deserved honour.

As one of this country’s finest painters, Byrne, also a playwright known for the TV series Tutti Frutti and The Slab Boys, should receive more attention than he gets.

Unveiling the work, Nicola Sturgeon said it had a “wonderful festive feel while maintaining John’s inimitable style”.

READ MORE: John Byrne working on stage musical inspired by Gerry Rafferty

Billy Connolly – after Byrne painted his portrait for one of three massive murals in Glasgow – put it more simply: “John is a genius.”

Some might sneer at Scotland’s First Ministers getting high-profile artists to design their Christmas cards but it is a fine tradition – and one that has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

READ MORE: Interview with John Byrne

It cannot hurt that the card was launched just days before it is revealed whether Byrne’s home town Paisley will be the 2021 UK City of Culture or not.

And what a very happy Christmas that would be.