Scotland politics

Salmond unveils Bella Caledonia Christmas card

Bella Caledonia
Image caption The picture by Alasdair Gray features on Alex Salmond's Christmas card

First Minister Alex Salmond's Christmas card features an image painted by Alasdair Gray.

The SNP leader said he was delighted with the Bella Caledonia card which "personifies Scotland as a strong woman with a passion for social justice".

A painting of the image will be auctioned for charity in the new year.

Children's hospice Chas, aid agency Sciaf, the Glenachulish Preservation Trust and the Small Tribes Trust will benefit.

The Bella Caledonia image is depicted in Gray's ceiling mural in entertainment venue Oran Mor in Glasgow.

The artist explained that he had painted different versions of Bella, but the original was now lost.

Gray said: "I changed the hat to a Glengarry and put a tartan plaid over her shoulder. The character is a strong woman with an enquiring mind and a sense of social justice, the qualities we would like Scotland to have also.

"That sense of social justice and compassion is reflected in the work of the charities who will benefit from the painting. At Christmas, that is very appropriate."

First Minister Alex Salmond said he was delighted that one of Scotland's most iconic and prolific artists and authors had "accepted the challenge" to paint his charity Christmas card.

'Deserving charities'

He added: "As in previous years, the original artwork unveiled today will be auctioned off and the funds raised will be handed to four deserving charities in Scotland.

"Since 2007, my Christmas cards have raised more than £127,000 for a variety of causes in Scotland.

"And this year, the Children's Hospice Association Scotland, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, the Glenachulish Preservation Trust; and a charity chosen by Alasdair Gray - the Small Tribes Trust - will all share in the auction proceeds."

Last year's card - Let's Twist Again by Jack Vettriano - raised £86,000 for the Bethany Christian Trust, Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, Quarriers and Teenage Cancer Trust.

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