We are excited to be able to offer this stunning example of Scottish folk art. This wonderful rather naive painting was produced in Scotland during the 19th century, circa 1870. The painting is by the Scottish folk artist Edward ‘Ned’ P. Holt (b abt. 1836 – d 1892), sometimes also known as Edmund.

Edward P. Holt had a varied career working as a baker, actor and artist. He is most well-known for his naïve watercolour profile paintings. Each painting is an important piece of Scottish social history because they document the local characters and trades people in Edinburgh city streets at that moment in time. We have to say that his paintings are fantastic! They are so interesting; usually you would see portraits of the beautiful or the rich and wealthy as these were the only people able to commission a painting. This can give a somewhat narrow view of the times. Edward Holt was said to accept payment for his painting in pints of beer and at the time many of his paintings of local characters hung in local taverns! He clearly loved painting, what an interesting chap he was. Edward died in Edinburgh when he was hit by a cab on the way home from the races. Edward was very popular figure. He left behind a wife and children, his son Edmund S. Holt would work as a showman in Scotland.

Please see the lovely poem by the Edinburgh poet and playwright Donald Campbell (b 1940 – d 2019) dedicated to Edward. P Holt.
The sitter of our portrait is Old Malabar, born Patrick Feeney, (1800 – 1883) who was a famous Irish juggler and street performer during the 19th century. Shortly after leaving school he began to travel the country, he became friends with a Chinese gentleman who was a juggler. He would work with him for many years and adapted his Chinese style of dress. He is a fascinating character. He was so talented and performed in Scotland and across the country up until the day he died.

He was a tall gentleman at 6 ft 4 inches. Notice the cup on his head; he was famous for throwing a brass ball into the air and catching it with the cup on his head. One day he got drunk on whiskey before performing the trick and he miss-timed catching the ball. The ball hit him in the nose, flattening the tip. He never drank before a show again! Another of his famous tricks was to balance a ladder with an adult donkey at one end on his chin!

Much has been written about Old Malabar, we have provided only a snapshot of information.

The painting is on paper and is housed behind glass in an unopened period correct, very heavy frame. The painting is signed by the artist bottom right reading ‘E. P. Holt.’

Measuring: Frame width 15.25 inch (39 cm) by height 17.5 inch (44.5 cm). Aperture width 9.75 inch (24.5 cm) by height 11.75 inch (30 cm).

Condition: Surface chips to the veneered corners of the frame, and a longer 3 inch sliver of veneer missing top right. A shrinkage gap to the gilt slip top left. Old repaired tear to the paper that runs vertically to the sitter’s knee (look just in front of his shoes to see this). Foxing and age related toning and undulation to the paper.

SHIPPING: FREE to mainland USA and UK via Express Courier. Buyers are responsible for any import duties/charges if applicable.

Old Malabar: Juggling through four reigns by J.B. Findlay.
Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, Scotland

SHIPPING: FREE to mainland USA and UK via Express Courier. Buyers are responsible for any import duties/charges if applicable.
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite Art
Folk Art, Portrait, Street Art
Eclectic, Entertainment, Historical
Scotland • Scottish
19th Century

Trinity Antiques

Antique British School Folk Art Portrait, by Edward P Holt of Old Malabar Irish Juggler Showman Circa 1870


    Unique, quality antiques direct from The Cotswolds, England for sustainable home interiors.
    Curated with love. Celebrating 11 wonderful years on Ruby Lane and Platinum shop status.


    since 2011

    Est. Tax:We are unable to obtain a tax quote at this time.
    Shipping to: USA

    Trinity Antiques

    Victoria Clark
    Email Shop Owner
    The Cotswolds , England , UK This Shop is rated Platinum - 1,000 or more sales Platinumsince 2011

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