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The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Coronet of a British Marquess.svg
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Born Lord Alastair Ninian John Gordon
(1920-07-20)July 20, 1920
Died 19 August 2002(2002-08-19) (aged 82)
Alma mater Harrow School
Gray's School of Art
Camberwell School of Art
Occupation Botanical artist, art critic
Children Lady Emma Foale
Alexander Gordon, 7th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Lady Sophia Gordon
Parents Dudley Gordon, 3rd Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Cécile Drummond
Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1939-1946
Rank Captain
Unit Scots Guards

Second World War

Alastair Ninian John Gordon, 6th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair (20 July 1920[1] – 19 August 2002) was a botanical artist and art critic who succeeded to a peerage later in life.

Early life and World War II

Gordon was the youngest of five children and the fourth son of Lord Dudley Gordon. He was raised in Kent and attended Harrow before entering Gray's School of Art. Commissioned into the Scots Guards in 1939, he served in the Middle East and North Africa before being invalided to Syria after an Irish Guardsman accidentally shot him in the shoulder. Returning to active service, he fought in Italy and North-West Europe before being demobilized as a staff captain in 1946. After leaving the services, he and fellow veteran and nobleman Earl Haig enrolled at the Camberwell School of Art.

Career as artist

It was at Camberwell that Gordon began to specialize in botanical paintings. Several exhibitions of his art would be held in London, New York, Chicago, and Sydney. In 1950, he married the ceramic sculptor Anne Barry. Gordon was also a member of the International Association of Art Critics and the modern art correspondent for Connoisseur magazine in the 1960s. It was at this time (1965) that his father inherited the Marquessate and Alastair became Lord Alastair Gordon.

Gordon settled at Ashampstead, Berkshire, far from his ancestral home at Haddo, allowing him to enjoy the company of artistic, rather than country, society. Aside from his art, he also enjoyed a longtime role as an amateur singer in the Bach Choir.

Later life

Inheriting the marquessate after the death of his brother in 1984, he sat as a crossbencher in the House of Lords. He attended the Lords only sparingly to speak on topics of interest to him. In his last year of life, he frequently wrote letters and columns on art criticism and other subjects for newspapers. However, he was best known for magazine and other pieces describing his experiences in the brothels of Knightsbridge and Beirut, an activity regarded by his wife with "tolerant amusement."[2]

Aberdeen left two daughters and a son:

  • Lady Emma Cecile Gordon (b. 26 May 1953), married Dr. Rodney Foale
  • Alexander George Gordon, 7th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair (b. 1955)
  • Lady Sophia Katherine Gordon (20 July 1960 – 28 December 2005)


  1. "Aberdeen and Temair, Alastair Ninian John Gordon;". Who's Who 1998: an Annual Biographical Dictionary. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1998. p. 3. ISBN 0312175914. 
  2. "Obituary of the 6th Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2002-09-07. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 

External links

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Archibald Gordon
Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair
Succeeded by
Alexander Gordon

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