SCOTTISH ART NEWS
Phoebe Anna Traquair Elizabeth Cumming
Agnes Miller Parker Emily Walsh
JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL 8 Eardley 100 Jan Patience 11
Margot Sandeman Greg Thomas
13 Eardley at the Glasgow School of Art Jenny Brownrigg and Susannah Thompson 17
A Life in Catterline Patrick Elliott
20 Unexpected Eardley Alice Strang 24 Eardley’s Playpen Victoria Irvine and Catriona McAra
33 Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour Carly Collier 37 Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness Susannah Thompson 40 COP26: What is ‘Environmental Art’? Emma Nicolson 43
COP26: Creative Responses Susan Mansfield
Scottish Art News The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, 15 Suffolk Street, London W1J 8DU United Kingdom T: (0)207 042 5730 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Scottish Art News is published biannually by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, London.
EDITORIAL Director James Knox Editor Rachael Cloughton Editorial assistance Paul McLean, Gemma Batchelor Design Lizzie Cameron www.lizziecameron.co.uk Print co-ordinated by fgrahampublishing consultancy Print Elle Media Group
Special thanks to the Joan Eardley Estate
46 Recent Acquisitions Rachael Cloughton
Art Market 48 Susan Mansfield
REVIEWS 53 Karla Black: sculptures (2001–2021) details for a retrospective Neil Cooper 54
British Art Show 9 Susan Mansfield
Director James Knox T: (0)207 042 5730 E: email@example.com
© Scottish Art News 2021. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Scottish Art News accepts no responsibility for loss or damage of unsolicited material submitted for publication. Scottish Art News is published by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation but is not the voice of the Fleming Collection or the Foundation. All images copyright of the artist or artist’s estate unless otherwise stated.
Cover Image Joan Eardley, Winter Sea III, 1959. The Fleming Collection. © Joan Eardley Estate
Diary Arabella Bradley
The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation pursues a programme of cultural diplomacy furthering an understanding and appreciation of Scottish art and creativity outside Scotland through exhibitions, events, publishing and education. The Foundation also owns the finest collection of Scottish art outside institutions comprising over 600 works from the seventeenth century to the present day. The Foundation has established a ‘museum without walls’ strategy using its collection to initiate exhibitions of Scottish art outside Scotland. It is a registered charity in England and Wales (No.1080197).
ISSU E 34 / SU MME R 2021 DIRECTOR’S NOTE
This summer, in a joyous celebration of Scottish creativity, the Fleming Collection has mounted two exhibitions at opposite ends of the country: one on the Glasgow Girls and Boys at Kirkcudbright Art Gallery and the other on the Scottish Colourists at Inverness Art Gallery and Museum. The core of both exhibitions is drawn from the Fleming Collection itself, deemed to be the finest outside public institutions, although the Kirkcudbright show also includes generous loans from the National Galleries of Scotland and private collections. This must be the first time that these two groups of artists, which between them stand as the early ‘moderns’ of Scottish art, can be seen at contemporaneous exhibitions, prompting the ambition that one day the Fleming Collection can unite both shows under the banner Scottish Painters of the Modern World 1880–1935. As the putative title suggests, this would reveal that these two generations of artists, until now seen as discrete groups, in fact embodied an arc of talent inspired by French artistic innovation. Is there a museum curator out there to run with this modest proposal?
These themed shows are the standard bearers for our Museum without Walls strategy, which plays a key role in fulfilling the Fleming Collection’s charitable goal of promoting Scottish art and creativity across the UK and beyond. Our showcasing of Scottish art also drives our acquisitions policy, which aims to fill key gaps in our historic collection as well as buying work by living artists. A few weeks before the Kirkcudbright exhibition, we acquired two rare drawings by Annie French (1872–1965), one of the brilliant circle of women artists, illustrators and designers who have become known as the Glasgow Girls. Within weeks they were hanging in the Kirkcudbright exhibition being seen by the public for the first time in over 100 years. Next year, her work will join other recently acquired paintings and drawings by Phoebe Anna Traquair and Agnes Miller Parker (see pages 28 and 31) in our next themed show, Scottish Women Artists, which, all being well, will open in summer 2022 at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich.
‘Joan Eardley’s work truly encompassed the extremes of Scotland’ This edition of Scottish Art News celebrates one of the mid-century giants of Scottish painting, Joan Eardley (1921–1963), marking the centenary of her birth. In our long-running online feature, whereby cultural figures rise to the challenge of choosing their favourite Scottish work of art, writer and broadcaster James Naughtie and actor Bill Paterson both offered insights into her rootedness as an artist. Naughtie chose an Aberdeenshire landscape, which he said ‘brings back to me all the texture of these days, rich and unchanging as the seasons’. Paterson, choosing a chalk drawing of Eardley’s tumbledown studio in Glasgow’s Townhead, wrote: ‘Very little survives of the district that she, and my mother and father, knew, but at least we have these evocative paintings of people and streets. Joan Eardley’s work truly encompassed the extremes of Scotland.’ In further thrilling news,
the Fleming Collection’s own Eardley paintings will be on loan to an exhibition celebrating the artist’s centenary at Perth Museum and Art Gallery opening in November. As part of his homage to Eardley, Paterson wrote of an artist, Faith O’Reilly, whom he first met in France ‘a lifetime after’ his childhood days in Townhead. O’Reilly, it turned out, had been part of the colony of artists at the fishing hamlet of Catterline on the Aberdeenshire coast, which had been established by Eardley. O’Reilly had been invited there by Eardley’s disciple and muse, Lil Neilson, and stayed on and off for ten years. O’Reilly has now generously donated a group of drawings, dating from the 1960s, to the Fleming Collection. These throw fresh light on the Catterline community following Eardley’s death and connect to a fine work by Neilson in the collection. Faith O’Reilly’s gift has revealed how much there is still to discover and record about key moments and movements in Scottish art history. Another example came to light after Neil MacGregor chose Ian Hamilton Finlay’s relief carving ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ (National Galleries of Scotland) as his favourite work of art. The carver of the relief, John Andrew, got in touch, which led to the commissioning of a series of interviews with Andrew, who is in his late eighties, conducted by scholar and writer Greg Thomas. Their conversations will in the future be an invaluable resource towards further understanding Finlay’s working methods. The needs of art education stretch across all demographics, and so we have continued our Young People’s Art Competition, originally initiated as a source of creative inspiration last year for those feeling the drain of home schooling. Winners
will be announced later this summer. On a different scale, we have also collaborated with the visual arts advocacy and training network Engage Scotland to support a project for young people who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will involve printmaking workshops, taking place this autumn, to be partially inspired by field trips into the Highland landscape. Nature like art has been a source of solace to many through these difficult times, as a recent visitor to see The Glasgow Girls and Boys at Kirkcudbright testified when she wrote: ‘I loved this exhibition: beautiful paintings and visiting the gallery last week felt like the first bit of normality in a very long time. It brought a tear to my eye!’ James Knox is the director of the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation The Glasgow Girls and Boys runs at Kirkcudbright Art Gallery until 12 September; The Scottish Colourists runs at Inverness Art Gallery and Museum until 28 August Read more favourite work of art choices at flemingcollection.com 1 Annie French, Two Ladies, c. 1895 © Estate of A J French / Bridgeman Images / 2020. The Fleming Collection 2 Lil Neilson, Salmon Nets Drying, c. 1969 © The Artist's Estate. The Fleming Collection 3 FCB Cadell, The Dunara Castle at Iona, c. 1929. The Fleming Collection
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Scottish Art News | DIRECTOR’S NOTE | 3
Moira Jeffrey appointed director of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN) A trusted voice and respected leader in the contemporary art community, Moira Jeffrey has more than 20 years of experience in the visual arts in Scotland including roles in arts journalism and broadcasting, public funding, development work and research. This appointment follows on from her previous role at SCAN as advocacy and development lead.
The Fruitmarket reopens Following a £4.3m redesign, expansion and refurbishment by Edinburgh-based architects Reiach and Hall, and a two year wait, Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket has reopened its doors. Expansion into the historic warehouse next to the original gallery space, most recently the Electric Circus nightclub, has doubled the gallery’s footprint and the scope of the organisation’s programming: this steelframed, brick-lined building will lend itself to theatre and music, spoken word and dance, in addition to the presentation of visual art. The pre-existing exhibition galleries have also been upgraded and the Fruitmarket now hosts a brand new learning studio, an enlarged information room, café and bookshop. A major exhibition by one of Scotland’s most renowned sculptors, Glasgow-based Karla Black, inaugurates the newly expanded space (see review, page 53).
Natalia Palombo joins Deveron Projects as director Natalia Palombo is recognised for her contributions across the UK and sub-Saharan Africa as a leading visual arts curator and cultural developer. Since 2012, Palombo has led on the design, development and management of Many Studios, a creative organisation based in the East End of Glasgow comprising a creative hub supporting 60 tenants, an international arts programme (The Gallow Gate) and consultancy and research across the creative industries. Palombo joins Deveron Projects, a socially engaged arts organisation based in the rural market town of Huntly, during its 25th anniversary year.
Rebecca Fortnum appointed head of fine art at the Glasgow School of Art Previously professor of fine art and research lead in the School of Arts & Humanities at the Royal College of Art (RCA), the artist, curator and academic Rebecca Fortnum has joined the Glasgow School of Art as their head of fine art this summer. Fortnum’s other academic roles have included University of the Arts London, where she was reader in fine art, and Middlesex University, London, where she was professor of fine art. Fortnum was also instrumental in founding the London-based artist-run spaces Cubitt and Gasworks.
Hospitalfield completes phase 1 of five year ‘Future Plan’ An important milestone has been passed for Hospitalfield as it completes phase 1 of an £11m ‘Future Plan’ which will see a restoration of the 19th-century Arts & Crafts house and studios. Phase 1 includes a newly developed garden designed by Nigel Dunnett, a restored 19th-century fernery and the opening of a glasshouse café. The new garden will be in full bloom in late summer and features sustainable planting designed to promote self-seeding. The restoration of the Victorian fernery, originally designed by Patrick Allan Fraser in the late 1800s, sees the return of a roof, designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Caruso St John, and the start of a managed fern collection, gifted by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, now taking root at Hospitalfield. Purpose-built artist studios, a renovation of the historic house and the addition of a new gallery and visitor centre will follow in the coming years.
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Scottish Sculpture Workshop unveils plans for first phase of £1.75m development The Lumsden-based Scottish Sculpture Workshop has unveiled plans for the first phase of their £1.75 million capital development project, which will see the creation of a new community space, expansion of ceramics studios and newly refurbished artist studios and accommodation, all realised in the coming year. The developments will be led by Collective Architecture and will begin in autumn 2021. Phase 2 of the capital project, which is currently being fundraised for, will focus on the development of new workshops, including foundry and casting spaces, wood and metal workshops and additional storage for materials and an accessible residential bothy.
Highland cultural organisation Timespan nominated for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 Located in Helmsdale, a village of around 800 inhabitants in the northeast of the Scottish Highlands, Timespan is an ambitious, multifunctional cultural centre, featuring a local history museum, contemporary art programme, public archive, geology and herb gardens, shop, bakery and café. Timespan commissions four major projects a year, each aligned with broader social movements. The organisation runs innovative youth clubs that ‘aim to tackle big issues in fun, creative and joyous ways’ and programmes across the community through the People’s Mobile Archive, which takes collections directly into village homes through activity, archive and research packs. Timespan also offers a mobile heritage lending library service, a local history pamphlet series, an online sound archive and a series of digital apps and trails. The other museums shortlisted for the prize are Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry (Derry / Londonderry, Northern Ireland), Experience Barnsley (Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England), Firstsite (Colchester, Essex, England) and Thackray Museum of Medicine (Leeds, West Yorkshire, England). The Art Fund Museum of the Year winner will be announced at a ceremony in the week commencing 20 September and will receive £100,000. The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £15,000 in recognition of their achievements.
Scottish Art News | NEWS | 5
Commissions New online map launched for George Wyllie’s centenary anniversary In preparation for the centenary anniversary of his birth, the family of the Scottish artist and writer George Wyllie are inviting people to share their stories about his work and contribute to a new online map detailing the artist’s public – and not so public – sculptures, which are located all over Scotland and around the world. The project also aims to include the locations and details of Wyllie’s temporary installations, which now exist only in memory and archive material. The centenary project, titled Mapping Memories, went live on 31 December 2020, on what would have been the artist’s 99th birthday. Throughout the year leading up to Wyllie’s 100th birthday on Hogmanay 2021, the George Wyllie Estate will welcome public contributions to the project and will publish previously unseen material from the artist’s own archive.
While this issue of Scottish Art News forms part of the Joan Eardley centenary celebrations, there are a number of other important birthdays and anniversaries being marked this year . . . Jock McFadyen’s 70th Birthday Exhibitions Paisley-born Jock McFadyen turned 70 in 2020 and to celebrate, galleries across the UK have programmed solo exhibitions. The first opened in late 2020 at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre with Jock McFadyen Goes to the Pictures and this summer, the Scottish Gallery and Dovecot Studios are hosting Lost Boat Party, an exhibition of paintings which describe the romance and grandeur of the Scottish landscape, alongside the urban dystopia for which the artist is known. A retrospective at the Lowry in Salford and a display at the Royal Academy will follow.
Share your story about Wyllie’s work at georgewyllie.com
‘Paisley-born Jock McFadyen turned 70 in 2020 and to celebrate, galleries across the UK have programmed solo exhibitions’
150 years of Peploe at the Scottish Gallery Throughout October, the Scottish Gallery will be celebrating the life and works of Samuel Peploe with a major exhibition of his paintings and drawings to coincide with his 150th anniversary. Noted for his still-life works, during his lifetime Peploe exhibited in Edinburgh, London, Paris and New York and his work was acquired by the Scottish and French national collections. In the 86 years since his death, Peploe has been recognised for his contribution to European modernism by major institutions and art critics around the world. The October exhibition will include examples from every period, charting his changes of studio, including his years in Paris and conversion to the way of colour and expressionism. It will feature the subjects of Jeannie Blyth, the gypsy flower girl who sat for him over a ten-year period, his French panels which defined his arrival as a colourist from 1908–1912 and his brilliant output as a draughtsman. There will be significant works for sale and key loans of many of his greatest paintings sourced from the great private collections known to the gallery. His grandson Guy Peploe, the recognised world authority on Peploe, has curated the month and will be lecturing and guiding visitors around the show. Included in the exhibition is a group of 30 neverbefore-seen drawings from a family archive.
North Lands Creative celebrate their 25th anniversary in Venice North Lands Creative mark their 25th anniversary with a showcase at Venice Glass Week in September. The exhibition, ASSEMBLY, celebrates the richness of the artists, designers and studios – from Murano to Seattle, Sydney to Edinburgh, Cluj-Napoca to Toyama – that have engaged with the prestigious, Caithnessbased glass centre over the last 25 years. More Milestones Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, while 2021 marks 20 years of visual arts programming for Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute. This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Royal Scottish Academy’s John Kinross Scholarships, which have enabled over 400 emerging artists and architects to travel to Florence for a period of research and development since its inception. Andiamo, a new exhibition at the RSA opening in September, has been programmed to celebrate.
Aberdeen Art Gallery celebrates joint win of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020 with new micro-commissions Aberdeen Art Gallery is using its share of the £200,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year prize money to support new ‘micro-commissions’ from six creative practitioners living in AB postcode areas. The selected practitioners are Lynne Hocking-Mennie, Florence Reekie, Joshua Macpherson, Juliet Macleod, Kimberley Petrie and Joe Stollery. The commissions will support the creation of new works that relate to existing objects and themes in the Aberdeen Art Gallery collection, or that highlight gaps within it. Textile artist and scientist Lynne Hocking-Mennie will create work reflecting on the interconnected relationships between class, means of production and global-local consumption of woven fabrics created in Scotland, while selftaught realist painter Florence Reekie will explore Aberdeen’s rich history in textiles, developing ideas around fashion pollution, garment workers and throwaway culture. Painter and illustrator Joshua Macpherson will make work inspired by North Sea fishing industry workers and ceramicist Juliet Macleod will respond to sea-related works in the collection, including paintings by Frances Walker and Joan Eardley. The writer and spoken word artist Kimberley Petrie has proposed to create three new pieces in response to her favourite artwork in the collection, ‘Flood in the Highlands’ by Edwin Landseer, while composer Joe Stollery will create short musical interpretations of Aberdeen Art Gallery exhibitions for a small chamber group.
The University of Edinburgh commission major new work by Katie Paterson As part of a programme of celebratory events to mark the King’s Buildings (KB) campus centenary, the University of Edinburgh’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) has commissioned a permanent work of art by the Scottish artist and Edinburgh College of Art graduate Katie Paterson. The work, Ideas (2021), will take the form of 100 three-line texts cut in stainless steel (each an ‘Idea’), that will be situated in a variety of locations in and around the KB campus. Due to be installed in autumn 2021, some ideas will be immediately visible and others will be hidden in unexpected places, at varying levels, high and low. The locations will include internal and exterior walls as well as the grounds and gardens of KB. Each idea is inspired by scientific thought and research, and the subject matter is wideranging, from the first colours on earth to the universe’s last stars, involving fields such as chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, and geography.
1 SCAN Director Moira Jeffrey. Image © Alan Dimmick
7 Timespan Helmsdale. Image © Marc Atkins
2 Natalia Palombo. Image courtesy of Deveron Projects
8 Jock McFadyen, Oban, 2018. Image© Lucid Plane
3 Rebecca Fortnum, the new Head of Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art 4 Fruitmarket Gallery. Visualisation of the connecting ramp. Courtesy Reiach and Hall Architects 5 Fernery, Hospitalfield, Arbroath. Photo by Lesley Martin 6 SSW Internal - View into yard. Image courtesy of Scottish Sculpture Workshop
9 George Wyllie © George Wyllie Estate 10 George Wyllie community project © George Wyllie Estate 11 Mary Bourne RSA, Inhabit (detail), 2020, Pink marble, grey and white marble tiles, charred oak table 12 Mary Maclean, Infinite Space, Uncertain (Blackboard #3), 2012
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Scottish Art News | NEWS | 7
Joan Eardley is one of Scotland’s most popular and revered 20th-century artists. As 2021 marks the centenary of her birth, we take a look at some of the events and activities celebrating this major milestone
EARDLEY 100 Jan Patience
Major anniversaries have a habit of creeping up unbidden but, used wisely, they provide an opportunity to highlight, reconsider and discover more about an artist’s life; playing to a gallery of existing and yetto-be discovered fans. So it has proved with the centenary of the birth of the painter Joan Eardley, whose legacy we are in the midst of marking this year. Joan Eardley is, and always has been, an artist’s artist. Her standing among fellow artists and arts professionals has remained almost reverential since her death, aged 42, in 1963. The year after she died, Cordelia Oliver, artist, critic and contemporary from the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), wrote that her friend ‘painted her surroundings bonedeep’. Oliver would go on to document that feeling of raw connection in greater depth in her 1988 biography of Eardley. As a result of this ongoing love affair, Eardley 100 has developed into a hivelike happening like no other. I like to think that hard-grafting Joan, no fan of glitz and glamour, would have enjoyed the fact her 8 | ART
family has joined forces with a group of influential women working behind the scenes in museums, galleries, archives, educational institutions and heritage organisations to create a centenary programme which is reaching out beyond the glittering salons. Traditionally, in the lead-up to the centenary of such a popular and influential artist as Eardley, a retrospective might have been planned. Timing is everything in the art world, however, and in Eardley’s case, the National Galleries of Scotland had already held two major exhibitions of her work in Edinburgh; a retrospective in 2007 and A Sense of Place in 2016–17, which focused on drawings and paintings made in Townhead, Glasgow, and at Catterline on Scotland’s north-east coast. This year could have offered a stage for a major centenary exhibition in her adopted home city of Glasgow or even in London, where she lived from the age of five to 18. It was certainly an ambition of Eardley’s artist niece, Anne Morrison-Hudson, who looks after the Eardley Estate. For various reasons, this did not happen.
In April 2020, as the world headed into lockdown, it looked like her centenary year would pass unmarked. As the weeks went on, communications started to whirr in the ether between a newly formed group called the Scottish Women in the Arts Research Network (SWARN) and the Eardley Estate. As a journalist who covers the Scottish art scene for The Herald newspaper, I had already had conversations with Anne Morrison-Hudson and other influential commentators about how to mark her legacy. Realising no major exhibition was going to happen, Anne and I hatched a plan to set up an official website and attendant social media. This was under construction when we were invited to join a Zoom meeting hosted by SWARN. Special mention for the creation of this can-do group must go to Dr Patricia de Montfort of the University of Glasgow’s School of Culture and Creative Arts, and her curator colleague, Anne Dulau, who have worked tirelessly to bring together a
‘Joan Eardley is, and always has been, an artist’s artist’
raft of professionals committed to enhancing the visibility in public collections of female creatives in fine arts, design, craft and architecture. Over the course of several months, as our lockdown locks grew ever-longer, the group behind SWARN grew in line with various plans from a growing roster of members looking to celebrate Eardley in her centenary year. What a joy it was to hear from the likes of Jenny Brownrigg and Susannah Thompson about their research into Eardley’s time at GSA (see page 13). These findings would, all being well, morph into an exhibition at the art school in late 2021. And then there was the revelation from Paisley Museum and Art Galleries curator Victoria Irvine that they had in their collection, among other Eardley works, a playpen made and designed by Eardley around the time she worked as a joiner’s labourer after leaving art school in 1943 (see page 24). It had been gifted to Paisley in the 1990s.
Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 9
Joanna Meacock, curator of British Art at Glasgow Museums, gave an inspiring presentation about plans to present a digital ‘festival’ around the 24 Eardley artworks in its collection. The Hunterian’s planned exhibition for summer 2021, we discovered, would be focusing on 20 or so works, including the stand-out ‘Salmon Nets and Sea’ (1960) and ‘Sweetshop, Rottenrow’ (1957–61), gifted by the poet Edwin Morgan after his death in 2010. In the summer of 2020, the official Joan Eardley website, created by artist and curator, Lynne Mackenzie, went live. The biography and timeline which I had written was swiftly joined by news of events and exhibitions from Aberdeen to Dumfries from SWARN members, all under the banner of #Eardley100. To date, we have witnessed several online seminars celebrating Eardley’s life and legacy, which can be viewed on the website. A highlight was a celebration on 18 May, Eardley’s birthday, organised by the Hunterian. Over 500 people joined the webinar from across the world for what proved to be a sparkling event chaired with elan by BBC Scotland’s arts correspondent, Pauline McLean. Leila Riszko, a curatorial assistant with the National Galleries of Scotland, who has worked on its latest Joan Eardley display, Eardley and Catterline, talked to art historian Matilda Hall about the gargantuan task of cataloguing 650 drawings in the early 1980s on behalf of the family. 10 | ART
‘Every piece of paper became a jewel in my hand’
Matilda, who went on to marry Douglas Hall, first Keeper of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – and a true champion of Eardley – told the audience about taking the drawings out from a box under Joan’s sister Pat’s sofa and working her way through them. ‘Every piece of paper became a jewel in my hand,’ Matilda said. Most of the drawings were distributed to galleries. Over 200 went to the National Gallery of Scotland’s collection while other institutions such as the GSA, the family’s local gallery, the Lillie in Milngavie, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Glasgow Museums and the Hunterian all received gifts. Matilda revealed she even wrote to the National Art Gallery of New Zealand to offer them a drawing as it had a Catterline seascape in its collection, but they said ‘no’. A handful of drawings were kept back by the family and marked for sale. Over the years, trusted dealers, such as the late Cyril Gerber from Glasgow’s Compass Gallery and the Scottish Gallery, would come and have a look and take some away for sale. Some of these works, such as ‘Mrs Red Wallpaper’, which Joan made in either Italy or Arran, remain in private collections. Take a look at the event, which is on the Eardley website – maybe someone out there reading this has one of these drawings. The genius of Joan Eardley touches people at their core. Monitoring the Joan Eardley social media, I can see that interest in her work is at an all-time high and I couldn’t be more delighted. Here’s to Joan Eardley at 100, 150 and 200. She is now, as Edwin Morgan put it so perfectly in his poem inspired by her ‘Flood Tide’ painting, ‘beyond the sun’. Jan Patience is an arts journalist and co-organiser of the Joan Eardley centenary For more information on events marking the centenary of Eardley’s birth, check out joaneardley.com and swarnetwork. wixsite.com/swarn
1 Joan Eardley, Flood Tide, 1962. Photograph courtesy of the Lillie Art Gallery © Joan Eardley Estate 2 Joan Eardley, Sweet Shop, Rottenrow, 1960 - 1961 © Joan Eardley Estate 3 Joan Eardley, Two Children, 1963. Glasgow Museums © Joan Eardley Estate
Margot Sandeman’s biography is entwined with those of two of Scotland’s most famous late 20thcentury artists: Joan Eardley and Ian Hamilton Finlay. But she often appears as a buoying or grounding presence, not always recognised for her own precocious artistic talent Unveiled in April 2021, the Arran Arts Heritage Trail includes 20 waymarkers scattered across the island. The seventh stone, in the small village of Corrie, bears two names – ‘Eardley : Sandeman’ – which tell the story of a deep and loving friendship. Margot Sandeman was born in 1922 to a family of artistic and cultural distinction. Her mother Muriel Boyd was a renowned needlework artist while her father Archibald Sandeman was a chemist and self-taught watercolourist. Margot grew up in a house in the Arts and Crafts style in the leafy Glasgow suburb of Bearsden, while Arran was a regular holiday destination. At the end of the 1930s, the aspiring painter followed in her mother’s footsteps to Glasgow School of Art, where in 1940 she crossed paths with a new student, another resident of Bearsden, later remembered by her friends as prone to depression yet deeply compassionate. In a 2007 interview, Sandeman recalled that she and Joan Eardley ‘were very shy of each other for about a year’, but eventually became
‘tremendously great friends’. A few years later, Sandeman would meet a similarly brooding classmate, Ian Hamilton Finlay, recalled by literary critic Derek Stanford, who met him in 1946, as ‘fair-haired’, ‘faunlike’, and ‘a little pitiful’. He had a steely edge though, and was expelled from GSA for organising a student strike, returning for a period to work as a janitor. Sandeman’s artistic fortunes would become closely interwoven with those of her two more tempestuous peers. The first step on this road was an invitation extended by her parents for Eardley to join the Sandemans on their annual trip to Arran, where Joan and Margot’s friendship deepened. The two made many more pilgrimages to the island across the remainder of the 1940s and the 1950s, sometimes renting a tiny bothy known as the Tabernacle in Corrie village (below the spot on High Corrie where Muriel’s friends Jessie M King and EA Taylor had run a summer school during the 1920s and 30s).
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In Heroica Theatre’s 2017 production Joan Eardley: A Private View, Sandeman is presented as the sunny backdrop to Joan’s self-doubt and angst. It is easy to read such distinctions into the styles the two were developing at this time. According to GSA exhibitions director Jenny Brownrigg, while Eardley’s 'Woman in High Backed Wicker Chair' (1949), a portrait study made in the Tabernacle, depicts the figurative detail of the bothy interior, Sandeman’s works on the same subject make bolder play with colour and backdrop. Eardley’s paintings would come to be celebrated for their extraordinarily raw emotional energy and social conscience, seen as great works of modern art. Sandeman’s, with their bright cloisonniste colour-blocks and clarity of outline, their easier affinity with a representative approach, are often described as poetic, lyrical. It is tempting to see them as the products of a more contented soul. In any case, it is clear that Sandeman was a source of emotional succour and creative inspiration to Eardley. In that 2007 interview, Margot even recalled that it was a drawing of hers from the 1940s, of two children playing marbles on the pavement, that ‘set off Joan on that theme’ – Eardley’s tender portraits of Glasgow street children are now among her best-loved works. But their friendship, ‘the most important of Eardley’s life’ according to curator Fiona Pearson, was cut short by Eardley’s early death from breast cancer in 1963.
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Sandeman was, at this time, on the cusp of the second great artistic partnership of her life. By the following year, Ian Hamilton Finlay had invited her to lay out and illustrate the 15th issue of his poetry magazine Poor.Old.Tired.Horse. Finlay seems to have valued Sandeman particularly as a sketcher; her fluid, dextrous pencil illustrations for the issue, published in 1965, are exemplified by her front cover, a jazzy cross-hatched seascape featuring the cas-
‘In Heroica Theatre’s 2017 production Joan Eardley: A Private View, Sandeman is presented as the sunny backdrop to Joan’s self-doubt and angst’ cading words ‘boats / shores / tides / fish’. Across the following page, her collages of marine scenes offset poems by George Mackay Brown, Edwin Morgan and others. Sandeman’s illustrations would become a vital component of several of Finlay’s most ambitious publishing projects across the next few years, including the concertina booklets Fishing News, News and Rhymes for Lemons (both 1970), the folding card Arcadian Sundials (1970), and the postcard poem 3 Names of Barges (1969). Finlay’s long-time critic and friend Stephen Bann suggests that ‘around this important period, Sandeman was among the very few artists who must have spurred Ian on to new ways of envisaging the medium of the card’. Later, artist and poet worked together on a full booklet of poems and artworks, Peterhead Fragments (1979), and on the collaborative exhibition Sheaf (1986).
Susannah Thompson & Jenny Brownrigg
Just as Sandeman is seen as having provided emotional ballast to Eardley, her creativity is often encountered as auxiliary to Finlay’s mercurial vision. As several recent solo shows have indicated, however, Sandeman was herself an artist of singular gifts, whose landscapes combine a Matisselike effervescence and colour palette with something of the visionary quality of Samuel Palmer’s Shoreham period (yet tied to a very different natural scene). The benign magic of her paintings continued to be conjured frequently on Arran – where she acquired a family home – and her estate remains a source of riches and intrigue, as new sketches and paintings are released by her children. At some point in the near future, Sandeman’s legacy might be rewarded with a show on a scale to match those offered to her friends, drawing her out from the shadow of Joan Eardley and Ian Hamilton Finlay. Greg Thomas is a critic and editor based in Glasgow Margot Sandeman SSA (1922-2009): Poetry & Harmony, Works on Paper and Oils 5 August–1 September Cyril Gerber Fine Art 178 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 4RL T: (0)141 221 3095 | gerberfineart.co.uk Open: Wednesday to Friday 10am–4pm (Saturday by appointment) 1 Margot Sandeman, Two Figures in a Landscape, 1956. Courtesy of Cyril Gerber Fine Art © The Sandeman Estate 2 Two Painters in a Landscape (Margot & Joan), 1960. Courtesy of Cyril Gerber Fine Art ©The Sandeman Estate
3 Margot Sandeman and Joan Eardley Marker, part of The Arran Arts Heritage Trail. Courtesy of The Arran Arts Heritage Trail
EARDLEY AT THE GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART 1
As part of the Eardley 100 celebrations, a new exhibition will shine a light on the artist’s early work from her time as a student at The Glasgow School of Art In autumn 2021, 100 years after Joan Eardley’s birth and 81 years since she first enrolled as a student in January 1940, Glasgow School of Art – a place so central to the artist’s artistic development, identity and reputation – will once again honour one of its most famous graduates as part of the Eardley 100 centenary celebrations. Curated by a team of academics, curators and archivists at the school, Early Eardley: Joan Eardley in the 1940s will focus on Eardley’s little-known early works, including a number of drawings and ephemera not previously exhibited. Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 13
the scholarship report she was required to submit to the GSA’s director, artist Douglas Percy Bliss. Since her death in 1963, Eardley’s work has been included in a number of exhibitions at GSA, including the 1995 show The Continuing Tradition: 75 Years of Painting at GSA and the 2001 exhibition Art Booms with the Guns, which focused on the ‘war years’ generation of staff and students and included a number of very early drawings by the artist, such as the 1938 pencil and watercolour ‘Fair at Blackheath’, one of her earliest known works. Works by Eardley’s close-knit circle of friends and peers were also exhibited including paintings by Margot Sandeman, Cordelia Oliver and Bet Low. In 2012, three works were loaned to Glasgow School of Art for inclusion in another historical survey show, Studio 58: Women Artists in Glasgow since World War II, which sought to highlight the work of mid-late 20th century women alumni. The new GSA exhibition will not focus on Eardley’s most famous works, perhaps too often limited to the ‘street kids and seascapes’ dichotomy in terms of dominant narratives of the artist’s development. In contrast it will introduce audiences to the artist as a young woman, still
‘In contrast, the GSA exhibition will introduce audiences to the artist as a young woman, still learning, experimenting and developing as a painter’
The works planned for the exhibition are drawn from the school’s archives and special collections and are primarily drawings made while Eardley was a student in the 1940s. The exhibition will be far from the first time the artist’s alma mater has displayed her drawings and paintings – Eardley’s first solo exhibition was held in the GSA’s famous Mackintosh Building on her return from Italy and France in 1949. That exhibition, featuring drawings made while undertaking a Royal Scottish Academy and Glasgow School of Art Travelling Scholarship between 1948 and 1949, helped to cement the artist’s reputation as a young graduate to watch. In a review in The Glasgow Herald, a critic observed that her work was ‘notable among the immediate post-graduate generation . . . for the strength and selective quality in her drawings.’ Some of these drawings – of peasants, landscape, architecture – will be shown again in this year’s exhibition, along with
learning, experimenting and developing as a painter. The drawings demonstrate Eardley’s emerging talent and the range and breadth of her interests. The works will reveal a far wider range of themes, places and subjects than those commonly associated with the artist’s oeuvre and will highlight the role of education and training in her artistic development. In her firm commitment to the practice of drawing, for example, the influence of her much-admired tutor, Hugh Adam Crawford, can be seen. Other influences, such as her friendship with the Polish émigré Josef Hermann, can be seen in the artist’s growing interest in urban realism. The Glasgow School of Art easel that Eardley, as a student, took to Hermann’s studio (returned 50 years later by his widow) will also be on show.
The Eardley works in Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections give a particular insight into her approach to drawing and sketching. Materials used include pen, ink, chalks, watercolour and blue biro. The latter was often used for quicker sketches which appear to work out composition, light and shade. Categories of work in the archive include life drawings made while she was a student, some early scenes from Glasgow’s famous Barras Market, studies from the Glasgow School of Art, Royal Scottish Academy and Carnegie Travelling Scholarship in Italy and France (1948–49), and a small group of sketches from Lincolnshire, made during a period spent in the county to undertake a mural commission at a school in 1946. There is strong evidence of Eardley’s interest in the rural as well as the city in these early works – perhaps unsurprising, given that she was born at Bayling Hill Farm in Warnham, Sussex. A small series of drawings of farm wagons are in the collection, ranging from Lincolnshire to Italy. Whether at rest or on the move, in works such as ‘Mule with Cart’ (1948–49), Eardley shows an interest in and ability to capture aspects
of rural labour and its mechanics. ‘Italian Farmhouse’ (1948–49) is beautifully constructed, with a plough in the foreground, leading the eye through trees to the white farmhouse, its front door ajar, a detail set at the golden ratio point in the composition. Eardley subtly works up swathes of colour from the brown paper ground, to add black line details of roof tiles, vine leaves and the patterns of the distant groups of trees on the surrounding hillside. The Glasgow School of Art collection also shows a number of studies of interiors and exteriors of Italian churches made during her travelling scholarship. There are two drawings of the same study, ‘Church interior, Basilica di San Marco, Venice’ (1948–49), showing three figures at worship. The early, quicker sketch, begins to plot the differences between the angles of the heads of the three figures. The front worshipper, with his head raised, appears to be in communion with above, the man in the middle seat stares at his hands and the figure at the back stares stoically ahead. This is further developed in the second work, a chalk and pastel study on brown paper (gsaarchives. net/collections/index.php/nmc-0080). Eardley works up the church interior surrounding the figures, choosing to link them to their surroundings by three bold columns that echo their number. A number of the sketches are working drawings. As part of the schema of ‘An Italian Hilltown’ (1948–49), Eardley writes colour notes on this black chalk sketch as an aide-memoire. A far spire is ‘pink’, shutters are ‘dark green’ against a ‘brown’ building. Drawings are often immediate and look to be on paper that was to hand, such as ‘Bridge in Venice’ (1948–49), drawn on lined paper suggestive of a letter pad. Of her Glasgow works in the collection, there are two studies of the Barras stalls entitled ‘Covered Market’, both dated c.1945–49. The first is black ink on paper showing distinctive bold lines and markmaking that are recognisably Eardley’s dynamic style, capturing a line of stalls with few customers at the start or end of a market
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Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 15
day. Her ability to capture age through posture is evident in this work. There is a real weight denoted in the coat of the stooped figure in the foreground as they clutch the edges of the coat to make it meet. This composition is then further worked up into colour in the second chalk and pastel study of ‘Covered Market’ with a predominant yellow being taken through the awnings of the stalls and replacing the cobbles of the passage, set against contrasting colder blue tones of the stalls’ interiors. It is worthwhile noting that in the ink study there is perhaps an early indication of Eardley’s fascination with signage, seen in later works such as ‘Sweet Shop, Rottenrow’ (c.1960–61), described by Edwin Morgan in his 1962 poem ‘To Joan Eardley’, as ‘Pale yellow letters / humbly struggling across / The once brilliant red / of a broken shop-face / C O N F E C T I O’. In ‘Covered Market’, the sign on the end of one of the market carts reads ‘Bush’s Nurseryman. Roots. Cut Flowers.’ The life drawings by Eardley in the school’s collection represent the rigour of drawing instruction during her period as a student at GSA. Figures twist, with Eardley following with a second observational detail of a foreshortened arm on the same page, to better understand form, in ‘Life Drawing’ (1940–45). This academic understanding of the figure as an exercise, of how skin and clothes cover skeletal structure, underpins her ability to capture the figure quickly and authentically in her work. The Glasgow School of Art is integral to Joan Eardley’s story. Her close-knit network of friends and supporters, which would sustain her personally and professionally throughout her life, were formed as a student in the 1940s. A younger classmate, Cordelia Oliver, would go on to become one of her fiercest supporters, writing the first book-length critical biography of the artist in 1988 and mounting several major posthumous exhibitions of her work. Her close friend and early collaborator,
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A L IFE I N CATTERLINE 5
Margot Sandeman, was also a fellow classmate and lifelong advocate of her work. Eardley’s early career was intrinsically linked with her primary place of education, from her diploma between 1940–43 and her post-diploma year in 1948, to attendance at evening classes in between. From her Guthrie prize-winning self-portrait in 1943, now held by National Galleries of Scotland, to her first solo exhibition in 1949, Glasgow School of Art is an entirely fitting venue for this special exhibition of works on paper in her centenary year.
Susannah Thompson is an art historian and critic. She is head of doctoral studies and professor of contemporary art and criticism at The Glasgow School of Art Jenny Brownrigg is a curator and writer. She is exhibitions director and a researcher at The Glasgow School of Art Early Eardley: Joan Eardley in the 1940s Autumn / Winter 2021, dates tbc Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G3 6RQ T: (0)141 353 4500 | gsa.ac.uk
1 Joan Eardley, Life Drawing, (Study of male model, possibly from Glasgow School of Art life class), c. 1940-1945. 2 Joan Eardley, Mule with Cart, 1948-1949 3 Joan Eardley, Italian Farmhouse, 1948-1949
4 Joan Eardley, Church interior, Basilica di San Marco, 1948-1949 (2-4 undertaken as part of Eardley’s art school travelling scholarship.) 5 Joan Eardley, Covered Market, Glasgow, c. 1945-1949 All images courtesy of Glasgow School of Art. © Joan Eardley Estate
Patrick Elliott, chief curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Galleries of Scotland, discusses his forthcoming book, Joan Eardley: Land & Sea – A Life in Catterline Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 17
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‘Eardley emerges as both ordinary and extraordinary. You can see that the village, and the villagers, were vital to her development as an artist’
Five years ago, we staged the show Joan Eardley: A Sense of Place at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It focused on the work Eardley did in the Townhead area of Glasgow, among the crumbling, overcrowded Victorian tenements, and in Catterline, the tiny fishing village on the north-east coast, where she made her home. The Glasgow work focuses on the poor children who scampered about her studio and became her favourite subjects, while the Catterline pictures are almost devoid of human presence. Yet there was a strong connection between the two places. They were both tight-knit communities confronting an uncertain future. Townhead faced the developer’s wrecking ball and a 1960s motorway interchange. In Catterline, the young had left and many of the little cottages were uninhabited with no mains water or electricity. When you organise a show, you always come across information when it’s too late. I met Ron Stephen by chance, not long before our show opened. He was in the audience of a play about Eardley and politely pointed out that a few things weren’t quite right. Everyone turned round. He knew because he had been there. He and his dad had collected Eardley from Stonehaven train station when she first came to stay in the village in 1952. I went up to Catterline a couple of times with Ron. He could point to the exact spots where Eardley had painted many of her pictures and could tell, by the position of the sun, what time of day it must have been, or by the position of the boats and the nets, what season it was. This was gold, but in order to balance the Glasgow and Catterline narratives in the show and catalogue, we had to leave much of this information aside. We’ve exchanged hundreds of emails and phone calls since. The idea of publishing a book specifically on Eardley and Catterline, to coincide with Eardley’s centenary in May 2021, emerged at that time. The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed publication a bit, but it will appear soon.
While A Sense of Place was on display, we had some lucky breaks. I met Jonathan Stansfeld, who had run the salmon fishing industry along that stretch of the east coast from the late 1950s onwards. Salmon fishing was central to the economy of the village. The nets you see in Eardley’s Catterline paintings are salmon nets, but one looks at them almost as compositional devices. Mr Stansfeld explained everything you could want to know about salmon and more: if a painting shows the nets hanging up on poles, for example, it has to have been painted at the weekend, between February and August. Many of the people in Catterline came forward to talk about Eardley. A neighbour remembered her painting in winter at the foot of her garden in 1963. Another recalled the visits of the baker, milk and grocery vans and how Eardley lined up with everyone else but was too shy to speak. Mr Simpson, the first headmaster of the local school which opened in 1956, is still going strong at 100. Although the village was tiny and he lived only a few houses away from Eardley, he was apologetic that he had never had a proper conversation with her. That in fact said everything. Eardley liked Catterline because nobody bothered her there. She was lesbian, but they either didn’t
know or didn’t care. Everyone was polite but she could get on with her life. The Glasgow art world in the 1950s was a tough, harddrinking, macho place. No wonder the windswept beach at Catterline appealed. Several people came forward with letters and memories. Most important of all was a box of unpublished letters exchanged between Eardley and the artist Lil Neilson, who met and became lovers in autumn 1962. With Neilson living in England, the letters focus on day-to-day life. Eardley’s neighbour, Mrs Taylor, looms large. A marvellous figure, straight out of a Balzac novel, she wore light summer dresses all year round, cleaned the church, cooked dinner at the school, kept a goat, delivered newspapers and often popped by with food for Eardley. In turn, Eardley collected her pension from the Post Office on the main road and got her a bucket of water every day from the spring tap at the foot of the brae. The artist Angus Neil, who followed Eardley to Catterline and did odd-jobs for her, is also ever present. Eardley speaks of the books she read (often high-brow: Proust, Beckett, Sartre), her desperation to learn to drive, and her love of music (Ella Fitzgerald was ‘fabulous’), which she first listened to on a wind-up gramophone. When she moved to a cottage with electricity, she bought a television. She was only the second person in the village to have one. It was mainly so that a friend could watch Wimbledon but we find Eardley watching it occasionally, enjoying the up-market arts programme Monitor, but also revelling in Diana Dors’ appearance on Juke Box Jury. Eardley emerges as both ordinary and extraordinary. You can see that the village, and the villagers, were vital to her development as an artist.
1 Audrey Walker, Nets 2 Audrey Walker, Eardley painting the sea at Catterline, c. 1959 © Jane Walker 3 Photographer and date unknown. Outside No 18 Catterline. Joan Eardley sitting on bench outside cottage 4 Joan Eardley standing beside sink. ‘Joan Eardley Catterline - Summer 1961. Grinding paint with mortar.’ Photographer unknown
Images courtesy of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art archive
Patrick Elliott is Chief Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland 4
Joan Eardley: Land & Sea – A Life in Catterline is available by pre-order from nationalgalleries.org Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 19
The celebrations of Joan Eardley’s centenary have prompted people to wonder where they can see her work: the answer is in unexpected places, from a grammar school to a former abbey As revealed by a search of the Art UK website, works by Joan Eardley can be found in 36 public collections across the United Kingdom. These works and their acquisition stories have been highlighted in a new Art UK curation, ‘From the Highlands to Hampshire: Collecting Joan Eardley’, pulled together by the 36 curators responsible for them and in a specially devised map (though it’s worth checking before arrival that your local Eardley is on display). Many of her works on paper are also in the public realm, but are not yet all on Art UK. As a result of this project, it was revealed that Eardley’s ‘Little Girl with a Piece’ (1959) is hanging in Campbeltown Grammar School on the Kintyre Peninsula. It is part of the Argyll Collection, formed between 1960 and 1990 and consisting of 173 works of art. It was established by the author and activist Naomi Mitchison and the art adviser Jim Tyre so young people in Argyll and Bute could experience fine art at first hand, in an area with few museums and galleries. ‘Little Girl with a Piece’ is a good example of the work which Eardley made in the Townhead district of Glasgow, where she had a studio from 1952. She was drawn to the vibrancy of the area and its close-knit community and was a regular sight sketching street scenes. The antics of the local children, as they played, squabbled and otherwise passed the time were captured in im-
ages executed at speed, some of which were later realised in more fully worked paintings. In this image, a girl is seen absorbed in reading a comic, while holding a ‘piece’ – or sandwich – in her hand. It was acquired for the Argyll Collection in 1964, the year after Eardley’s death.
‘She was drawn to the vibrancy of the area and its close-knit community and was a regular sight sketching street scenes’
Regional collections where Eardley is represented include those in Coventry, Kettering, Reading and Rugby. Huddersfield Art Gallery, part of Kirklees Museums & Galleries, is home to her ‘Children and Chalked Wall No. 4’ (c.1963). It comes from a celebrated series of paintings in which pairs of children are shown in front of a graffitied wall below the artist’s Townhead
studio. The sitters’ comfortable familiarity is clear in their informal pose, while Eardley’s collaging of newsprint onto her board support reflects the freedom of expression and technique of the original graffiti. Huddersfield’s acquisition was made by Philip James of the Arts Council and Museums Association, from Eardley’s last life-time solo exhibition, held at Roland, Browse & Delbanco in London in 1963. He wrote: ‘I have today bought a picture . . . by Joan Eardley. Although the show is only a week old, practically everything has gone – purchases made by the Arts Council, Contemporary Art Society, Birmingham, Nat. Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Kendal, Abbot Hall. I have bought no. 13 in the catalogue. The price was 175 guineas and have got it for 150.’ Meanwhile, in Trinity College at Oxford University, Eardley’s ‘Townhead Close’ (c.1955) can be found hanging in a tutor’s room. It was purchased by a group of students who formed a subscription art collective in order to purchase modern paintings and prints; acquisitions were duly swapped between their rooms each term. This work was purchased for £26 from St George’s Gallery, London, in 1955, who that year mounted Eardley’s first solo exhibition in the capital. A cluster of young children are depicted within and beside a ‘close’ entrance, the entry to a tenement
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Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 21
The Fleming Collection acquired the first of its five works by Eardley in 1968, to hang in the offices of the Robert Fleming & Co bank, in recognition of its founder’s Scottish roots. In 1970, ‘Field of Barley by the Sea’, another early 1960s painting, joined its holdings. In this work, Eardley revels in the fecundity of the coastal fields farmed around Catterline. Painted en plein air on a board measuring 107 x 110cm, Eardley uses a range of techniques and perspectives to convey the richness of sensual stimulation provided by her environment. The collection is now owned by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation and the Eardleys are regularly on loan and displayed around the country.
stairwell. The tilt of the doorframe and the swell of the pavement kerb provide a sense of rhythm to the children’s activities, as they observe and participate in street games. Highlights of red bring attention to bricks and other features of the dilapidated setting, as well as to the structural forms of the children themselves. The Scottish north-east coast has been transported to the National Trust property of Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire via Eardley’s ‘Catterline in Winter’, painted in the early 1960s. It is a stark image of the South Row cottages in Catterline, a fishing village just over 20 miles south of Aberdeen. Eardley first visited it in 1951 and in 1954 rented number 1, the most southerly of the homes in this row, seen on the far left of the image. On the righthand side, the gable-end of number 12 is visible. The modest houses are dwarfed by their natural surroundings, as two people toil along the path which bisects the bleak landscape. A hint of sunshine at the lower right combines with the luminous blue of the otherwise glowering sky, to relieve the bleakness of this winter scene. ‘Catterline in Winter’ is one of three works by Eardley which the artist Derek Hill presented to the National Trust in 1996. This was due to his friendship with Mottisfont’s former owner, the art patron Maud Russell, and to his admiration for Eardley herself. He bought this painting from the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, in 1964, following its inclusion in the memorial exhibition of her work mounted by the Arts Council Scottish Committee that year. 22 | ART
Alice Strang is a curator and art historian whose curation of From the Highlands to Hampshire: Collecting Joan Eardley can be viewed at artuk.org/discover/curations/ from-the-highlands-to-hampshirecollecting-joan-eardley
5 1 Joan Eardley, Little Girl With A Piece, 1959. (Currently exhibited in Campbeltown Grammar School). Photo: Argyll and Bute Council
3 Joan Eardley, Catterline in Winter, c. 1960- 1963. From the Derek Hill Collection, Mottisfont. Courtesy of The National Trust.
5 Joan Eardley, Children and Chalked Wall No. 4, c. 1963. Courtesy of Kirklees Collection: Huddersfield Art Gallery
2 Joan Eardley, Townhead Close, c1955, (previously known as Girls by the Door, the Gorbals, Glasgow.) Photo: The President and Fellows of Trinity College Oxford.
4 Joan Eardley, Winter Sea III, 1959. The Fleming Collection. © Joan Eardley Estate
All images © Joan Eardley Estate.
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VICTORIA IRVINE (VI):
EARDLEY’S CATRIONA MCARA (CM):
PLAYPEN Taking a playpen painted by Joan Eardley in Paisley Museum’s collection as a starting point, Victoria Irvine and Catriona McAra explore the artist’s often overlooked personal projects and their influences, offering us new insights and understanding into Eardley’s wider practice
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Paisley Museum houses a playpen decorated by Joan Eardley in the late 1940s. We know of one other playpen and both were painted for family or friends. These objects have been excluded from Eardley’s output, yet I feel that outright dismissal precludes wider conversations about her interest in childhood culture and these personal projects. This playpen is fascinating and surely provides crucial insights into understandings of Eardley’s broader world view. The high art/low art dichotomy was still very prevalent when this was made but that was all about to change. Art historical thinking on craft has been revised significantly since then, and maybe we need to further revise considerations of Eardley’s output using contemporary feminist language. Feminist readings of Eardley’s contemporary reviews indicate the gendered language she was subject to, admired for her ‘virility’ and mastery of paint. This language in part accorded Eardley status because it united, to paraphrase feminist art historian Griselda Pollock, creativity with stereotypically masculine qualities. I am intrigued by your idea that we can use contemporary feminist language to provide a more nuanced reading of her work as it relates to childhood. How might we begin that discussion? I am interested in art by women in the immediate post-war era and how they might provide a model for a work/life balance. The English artist Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) made a series of night nursery paintings in Mexico City, and even collaborated on a boat-shaped cradle with José Horna in 1949. The boat, for them, was symbolic of wartime exile, and is painted with moons and creatures that likely owe their allegiance to the picture-book illustrations of Carrington’s own childhood Edwardian nursery, e.g. Arthur Rackham and Beatrix Potter. Did Eardley have an interest in this so-called ‘golden age’ of picturebooks or even a collection of her own?
I’m glad you raised the post-war environment when materials were scarce and imagery had newfound significance. Eardley read 1920s editions of Beatrix Potter, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and so forth. Eardley’s niece, Anne Morrison-Hudson, also read the same copies as a child and we can clearly see that Eardley was inspired by Beatrix Potter’s illustrations for the Eardley family playpen (in the form of Tabitha Twitchit and Jemima PuddleDuck). Prior to painting both playpens we know that Eardley made and illustrated a book of nursery rhymes in 1940, exhibited at the Glasgow School of Art Club Show when she was a student there. Do the moons and creatures of Carrington’s cradle further symbolise an escape signified by childhood? Carrington’s nocturnal creatures and moons could be said to relate to the tradition of the night nursery and soothing post-war lullabies like Margaret Wise Brown’s ‘Goodnight Moon’ (1947). Meanwhile, Walt Disney signified that story-time was about to begin with a big, heavy, giltedged tome being opened in feature length animations. Carrington also had a reproduction of Margaret Winifred Tarrant’s The Gates of Fairyland (c.1922) where the children serve as the link between reality and the enchanted characters of storyland. I’m curious that the illustrators Carrington and Eardley relate to should be mostly women. Tell me more about Eardley’s illustrated book, what nursery rhymes did it contain? Are book and playpen one-off projects or did she do further commissions like this alongside her painting practice? This tantalising reference to Eardley’s illustrated book came from a fellow student, Christine Shaw and unfortunately the book is now lost so we are only able to speculate as to its contents. As far as the Eardley family are aware, the book and playpens were one-off projects although childhood – in some form – featured in Eardley’s early work. As for wider cultural context, Fiona Pearson’s work on Eardley has already identified that the artist Scottish Art News | JOAN EARDLEY SPECIAL | 25
1 Joan Eardley, Playpen, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, held by Renfrewshire Leisure on behalf of Renfrewshire Council. Photography Elaine Livingstone. 2 Leonora Carrington and José Horna, La Cuna (The Cradle), 1949. © Estate of Leonora Carrington / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021 3 Joan Eardley, Boy on Stool, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, held by Renfrewshire Leisure on behalf of Renfrewshire Council. Photography Iona Shepherd. © Joan Eardley Estate
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was painting in the era of Iona and Peter Opie who studied children’s folklore (the recording of nursery stories and children’s street games). Eardley also read the Picture Post which has been cited as significant in terms of its 1948 article ‘The Forgotten Gorbals’ which featured photographs of children by Bert Hardy (1913–1995) and Bill Brandt (1904–1983). How interesting that Eardley worked from such diverse sources, from picture-book illustration to documentary photography, yet both with a focus on childhood subjects and perspectives. This seems singly unique in mid-20th century painting. Does her use of such photographic subjects in her painting shed further light on her nascent feminism and/or feminist readings of her work? Eardley’s association with photography is well-documented and her understanding of Glasgow as a place were people and city were wholly connected relies partly on the heritage of documentary photography. Eardley carried a camera with her from 1953 and used documentary images of graffiti, child’s clothes, etc, as more than an aide-memoire. Eardley’s contempoary, the artist and critic Cordelia Oliver refers to Eardley’s sketches and photographs as a kind of visual feeding, which I like. The language around photography and Eardley has not been examined in terms of feminism which is surprising given contemporary feminist practitioners in the field. Something which interests me: Sara Stevenson referred to the juxtaposition of realism and surreality in Eardley’s photographs (photographic distortion of a real person for example). This dichotomy seems present in Eardley’s work in general; social realism and abstract expressionism, and chimes with this conversation in terms of reality and storybook illustrations. She was obviously highly sensitive and alert to the cultural ephemera and social landscape around her, combining these different aspects, almost collage-like, into her innovative painterly practice. So, in sum, what does it mean, I wonder, for a pioneering woman, pursuing an aestheti-
cally advanced creative practice, to work on a craft-based side-project at that historical moment? And finally, can we understand Eardley better through exploring her use of childhood motifs? It means that we should continually remind ourselves to adjust the prism through which we view the work of women artists. The playpens were personal projects, yet this does not mean they are less historically significant than her finest oils. I think you said it earlier – the narrative between domestic and amateur, craft or ‘less than’, has existed since the 19th century and is historically implicit in the work of women artists. Both playpens speak more broadly to Eardley’s visual bank of sources and her interest in children, and as you have demonstrated, show that we can start to contextualise Eardley’s output with nuance rather than thinking of her within traditional art historical canons. What of her women colleagues like Dorothy Steel (1927–2002) and Margot Sandeman (1922–2009)? What of her women peers in the UK and internationally? And which other women were then working on child subjects? More generally I believe that the playpens and references to picture-books reinforce that Eardley was a storyteller above all, as she herself said, ‘the story part of it does matter’. Victoria Irvine is curator at Paisley Museum. Catriona McAra is assistant director of heritage collections and curation at St Andrews University This conversation was first delivered at the Hunterian’s Joan Eardley: The Centenary Celebration event on 18 May 2021
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PHOEBE ANNA TRAQUAIR
Portrait miniature of Hilda Traquair aged five years (1884) Watercolour on paper 8.5 x 6.8 cm This is an early study of the Traquairs’ only daughter. Like her mother, Hilda became a skilled needlewoman. She married George Napier (1886–1953), emigrating with him to Canada in 1909. They had two children, Margaret and John. Phoebe Anna Traquair made a number of pencil sketches of her children during the 1880s and 1890s with some used for figure studies in her mural schemes. In 1898, Hilda would be represented – along with her father Ramsay – in her mother’s second children’s hospital chapel at Rillbank, in south Edinburgh. The early 1880s, however, predated Traquair’s involvement in the social art of mural decoration. At this point, her art was primarily focused on the design and making of practical domestic embroideries or recording landscapes while on family holidays in the Scottish Borders or on Speyside. The landscape background of this study instead reflects her interest in both formal gardens and especially the beautiful background landscapes often to be found in early Italian Renaissance paintings. It is also a beautiful image of the innocence of childhood. It is possibly influenced by her reading of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience (copies of which she gave to family and friends) in the clarity and sweet simplicity of this affectionate little portrait.
Phoebe Anna Traquair was a leading figure in the arts and crafts movement. Here, art historian Elizabeth Cumming explores Traquair’s artistic inspirations and shines a light on three early watercolours recently acquired by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation From the 1880s to the 1920s, Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852–1936) was known as one of Scotland’s leading muralists and craft artists. The daughter of a Dublin doctor, she had been born and educated in Ireland and settled in Edinburgh with her zoologist husband Dr Ramsay Heatley Traquair (1840–1912). Illustrating his research papers on fossils for over 30 years demonstrated a precision of draughtsmanship but never the scale of her imagination nor her professional ambition. She painted murals in no fewer than four Edinburgh buildings: the two successive chapels for the Sick Children’s Hospital (1885–86, 1896–98), the Song School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral (1888–92) and Mansfield Place Church, now the Mansfield Traquair Centre, (1893–1901). As the National Gallery of Scotland’s director James Caw wrote in 1900, she breathed extraordinary ‘visions of life and beauty upon dead walls’. Traquair’s sources for her art were many and varied: she admired Greek sculpture and the romance of Pre-Raphaelite painting, medieval craft and – perhaps surprisingly – modern engineering. Her mentors above all were the great poets and writers of the past and present from Dante to Donne, Blake to Browning,
Ruskin to Rossetti. She struck up friendships with artists including William Holman Hunt and briefly corresponded with John Ruskin in the late 1880s. Ruskin lent her medieval manuscripts to study and copy, and these, together with her reading, inspired a series of glorious illuminations of poetry. Above all she always enjoyed the challenges of mastering traditional crafts from embroidery to leather book cover tooling and, after 1900, art enamelling on copper and silver. She had a professional space within the Dean Studio in Lynedoch Place from 1890 but also worked at home. It is perhaps easy to forget that beyond this intensely creative world lay a mundane middle-class home life. The Traquairs had three children, Ramsay (1874–1952), Harry (1875–1954) and Hilda (1879–1964). With drawing an important part of daily life, she sketched them at leisure in the family home or on holiday in Fife, the Borders or the Highlands, and some of these became figure studies for her murals. The Traquairs’ home was beautified by her crafts lining the walls, staircase, shelves and furniture surfaces. For her, art was an essential element of daily life with even her own leather needlecase carefully tooled with her initials. 1
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1 Portrait miniature of Hilda Traquair aged five years 1884 2 Illuminated Page, 1887 3 Study for The Souls of the Blest c.1889 All images The Fleming Collection
Illuminated page (c.1887) Ink, watercolour and gold leaf on vellum 17.5 x 13.5 cm Phoebe Anna Traquair responded to the music of poetry in all her art, but nowhere more so than in the craft of manuscript illumination. When she painted her watercolour study of Hilda, she had recently begun to illuminate the Psalms of David on vellum, a highly ambitious programme which would continue for a decade. Such pages found an echo in her first mural decoration for a children’s hospital chapel where medieval ideas were used together with echoes of Byzantinism and PreRaphaelitism. By the later 1880s, her skill in illumination was such that she embarked on illuminating modern poetry which particularly moved her. She started with Tennyson’s In Memoriam(1889–92) which was followed by the sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She also briefly illuminated the
poetry of Robert Browning and William Morris and, in a glorious finale, Dante’s La Vita Nuova (1899–1902). She then switched to art enamelling as her preferred ‘little lyrics’, as she called them. Traquair seems to have been entirely self-taught, with the copying of medieval pages a major part of her training. She is known to have been familiar with the medieval collections of Edinburgh’s Advocates’ Library and Museum of Science and Art, and her archive in the National Library of Scotland reveals that she also visited London public collections including both the British Museum and Lambeth Palace Library. The medieval source of this copy – for it surely is such – has yet be unidentified, but we know that French and Italian illumination especially influenced her love of introducing all manner of natural detail (such as the tiny hare found here) and these also wove their way into her other crafts including embroidery. Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 29
Study for The Souls of the Blest (c.1889) Ink and watercolour on paper 35.5 x 25.5 cm
‘Her delight in old manuscripts was recorded in letters to family and friends, and in an 1897 interview published in The Studio, she commented that “purple and gold are delightful things to play with”’
The concentration and patience required to illuminate even a single page was considerable, yet in a sense such slow, close work came naturally to her. After all, she illustrated her husband’s fossil research papers throughout his professional career, and it had been this which had first brought them together in Dublin in the early 1870s. In the spring of 1887, she wrote to John Ruskin for advice on what to copy. Their surviving correspondence over a period of three or so months reveals loans of medieval manuscripts to Traquair and her own modern pages to him. Her delight in old manuscripts was recorded in letters to family and friends, and in an 1897 interview published in The Studio, she commented that ‘purple and gold are delightful things to play with’ and ‘the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries have always appealed to me most in illuminated work’.
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Most of Traquair’s surviving embroidery designs are for domestic items such as table covers. This one is for a panel of a draughtscreen – then a common piece of drawing room furniture in many middleclass homes. They were both practical and aesthetic although few were as fully artistic as those of Traquair. The ideas of the journey of the soul beyond death had filled her children’s hospital chapel and, perhaps surprisingly, were now to be embedded in a screen for her own home. She called this first embroidered screen 'The Salvation of Mankind' (1886–1893, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries, City Art Centre). Its success would immediately encourage her to work on her most celebrated screen, 'The Progress of a Soul' (1893–1902, National Galleries of Scotland), and that would be followed in turn by 'The Red Cross Knight' (1904–14, National Museums of Scotland) which was partly worked by Hilda Napier. Each panel of these screens took at least eighteen months to work. This rare item from 'The Salvation of Mankind' project is the only known working study for the second (left) of its three panels, 'The Souls of the Blest' (embroidered c.1889–91). It would have been used as a clear reference when inking her linen with the design prior to stitching the piece. Traquair depicts six angels receiving the souls of the just from the Angel of Redemption, the focus of the central panel (stitched c.1886–87). Seven angels are shown in the finished embroidery, and they are surrounded by banks of cumulus clouds (representing air) and water, the latter to be translated into choppy waves and wonderfully still pools in the embroidery. The other two elements were to be found across the central and right screens: the Angel of Redemption holds a flaming skull, while earth dominates the composition of the right (third) panel, 'Souls waiting on Earth' (1891–93). The testing of souls by the ordeal of fire was an idea long used in
culture. Here, as in much of her art, Traquair fused many traditions with her imagination. 'The Salvation of Mankind' screen is witness to her changing figurative style from Pre-Raphaelite to the largely Renaissance-inspired naturalism of her Song School mural. Nonetheless, she would adapt this design in her illuminations of Stanza III of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Willowwood (1890,National Museums of Scotland), and as part of The House of Life, (1898–1902, National Library of Scotland). Elizabeth Cumming is a historian, curator and Honorary Professor in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently a trustee of the Mansfield Traquair Trust, the Scottish Stained Glass Trust and the Lorimer Society. The first part of this article was originally published by Bonhams for their Scottish Sale in October 2020
AGNES MILLER PARKER Emily Walsh
Agnes Miller Parker's The Uncivilised Cat – a recent acquisition by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation – represents an artist who pushed against the prevailing tide in her lifetime. Emily Walsh, managing director of The Fine Art Society, unveils the meanings and metaphors within this groundbreaking feminist painting Agnes Miller Parker’s (1895-1980) seemingly innocent still life brings to the fore concerns and debates around women’s rights of the time. Whether it points to the artist’s relationship with her husband, fellow Vorticist William McCance (1894–1970), is conjecture. What we can be certain of however, is that Miller Parker was unequivocally a female anomaly of her time, as an independent thinker who was unafraid to reject societal norms and conventions of womanhood. ‘The Uncivilised Cat’ was painted in 1930, either when Miller Parker and McCance left their life in London, or upon their move to Gregynog, in the Welsh town of Powys. The still life captures the animal’s restlessness and alarm. It has landed upon the open pages of Marie Stopes’ Love’s Creation, its title partially visible to the viewer. Published in 1928, the year women obtained the right to vote, Stopes works through several debates which affected both her personal and public life as a woman: sexual relations, the link between the arts and sciences, and the quest for female sexual fulfilment. The pound note on which the cat’s claw is protectively placed acknowledges the female struggle for financial freedom. A toppled vase of Calla lilies and a broken Venus statuette draw attention to the story of Venus, Roman goddess of love, seeing lilies for the first time. Jealous of their beauty, she cursed them by placing a large yellow pistil in the middle. The Calla lily, in this context, represents the lust and sexuality that Miller Parker suggests a woman can never have.
The spine of the green book indistinctly reads Good-Bye to All That, a 1929 autobiography by Robert Graves. ‘It was my bitter leave-taking of England,’ he wrote, ‘where I had recently broken a good many conventions.’ Good-Bye to All That describes the passing of an old order following the cataclysm of the WWI; the subsequent disillusionment of the glories of patriotism, combined with the gradual increased interest in atheism, feminism and socialism in a post-war British society, all signify monumental fissures in British collective thought. These rifts undoubtedly impacted both Miller Parker’s personal and artistic outlook; ‘The Uncivilised Cat’ exudes this uncertainty, particularly in its rejection of the Victorian tropes of womanhood as ‘The Angel of The Home’. Miller Parker’s early paintings, often executed in tempera such as ours, reflect the artistic ethos of the short-lived group, the Vorticists, who were active in London in the 1920s. Miller Parker and her husband, Glasgow School of Art contemporary William McCance, moved there in 1920. They were among the few Scottish artists to engage with modernism, and were described by poet and polemicist, Hugh MacDiarmid (1892–1978) as ‘that clever couple from Scotland who believe in cubist methods’. Miller Parker’s decision to marry McCance in 1918 is a significant one. They were in the early stages of their relationship during the WWI, when McCance was court martialled for failing to turn up to duty after being conscripted. Despite the huge social stigma that was attached to conscientious objectors during this Scottish Art News | FEATURES | 31
VICTORIA & ALBERT: OUR LIVES IN WATERCOLOUR
1 Agnes Miller Parker, The Uncivilised Cat, 1930. The Fleming Collection. ©The Estate of the Artist
period, McCance’s internment at Wormwood Scrubs Prison and in a Home Office work camp did not deter her; they were married a year prior to his release from the work camp. These would have been significant disrupting factors in their lives; the social opprobrium she must have been subject to suggests that she was both in agreement with his position as a ‘conchie’, but also had the steel to withstand it and continue her life with him by her side. The artist William Roberts lodged briefly at their Earl’s Court home; his influence upon Miller Parker’s painting was significant throughout the 1920s, and it’s easy to see Robert’s influence in her sculpturally volumetric figures. ‘The Horse Fair’ (1928) is one of Parker’s most ambitious paintings. Human and animal participants are simplified and wryly observed in a work which used to belong to her friend, the writer Naomi Mitchison (1897–1999). Painted in the same year, ‘The School Room’ shows an art class at Maltman’s Green School in the suburb of Gerrards Cross, where Miller Parker taught from 1920–1923. During this period, McCance mainly painted and experimented in his work; the imbalance in their working lives was to be a recurring theme. Miller Parker made do with painting by night, McCance by day. By 1925, the couple became part of the Chiswick Group, which included the Mitchisons, Blair Hughes Stanton (1902–1981) and his wife, Gertrude Hermes (1901–1983). While Miller Parker had taught herself the rudiments of wood-engraving, it was HughesStanton and Hermes who encouraged and refined her talent. In 1928, both couples had a major joint exhibition of their painting and sculpture at St George’s Gallery, London. Their modernism unsettled one uncomprehending critic, who observed that ‘eccentricity ran riot with rather lamentable results!’ In spite of this, both couples continued to intertwine the personal with the professional, moving to the Gregynog Press, in Powys, Wales, in 1930. The press was dedicated to producing fine books in limited editions. McCance was to be the controller and the 32 | ART
others artist-illustrators. The Fables of Esope (1932) and XXI Welsh Gypsy Folk-Tales (1933), illustrated by Miller Parker’s engravings, are among the finest of the period. Paradoxically, Miller Parker felt many of the books hardly needed ‘decoration’: ‘so many of the jobs that I get to do I feel ought not to have been illustrated. [Thomas] Hardy describes so well that illustrations seem to be superfluous.’ After the successes of the 1930s, finances were precarious. Thanks to the triumphs of her engravings, Miller Parker’s work was more widely recognised than that of her husband. This undoubtedly gave rise to further tensions in her relationship with McCance. Personal correspondence with friends suggest that he became increasingly lazy and selfish in the years prior to the breakdown of their marriage. This increasing unhappiness culminated in 1955, when Miller Parker made the decision to leave her husband. Divorce at this time was highly stigmatised, heightened by the reality that she took the decision to break away from the institution of marriage, and the traditional role of womanhood as a wife. Finalised in 1963, the divorce drew Miller Parker back to Scotland, where she settled in Arran. She never remarried; in this retrospective light, we could interpret ‘The Uncivilised Cat’ as a visual reinforcement of Miller Parker’s desire for independence, both professionally as a woman artist, and personally as a liberal believer in women’s rights and female sexuality.
With a new exhibition at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Gallery exploring Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s love of watercolour painting, curator Carly Collier takes a closer look at the queen’s passion for the art form
Emily Walsh is managing director of The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh This feature was originally published in Issue 1 of The Journal, published by The Fine Art Society
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Holding a pencil and with her sketchbook open on an easel behind her, Queen Victoria, accompanied by her two eldest children, turns away from the magnificent view of Loch Laggan framed by mountains that she was capturing in watercolours, to acknowledge a passing gillie. Sir Edwin Landseer’s arresting painting captures a fleeting moment during Victoria’s holiday in Scotland in the summer of 1847, when she was staying at Ardverikie House on the shores of the loch. An album in the Royal Collection contains ten studies by the queen made during her stay there when, unwittingly, she also made an artistic contribution to posterity, in copying murals that Landseer had painted in the house which were later destroyed by fire. A few years later, Landseer’s work was reproduced commercially, and the print’s title, ‘Her Majesty The Queen sketching at Loch Laggan’, emphasised both Victoria’s appreciation of Scotland’s spectacular scenery and her love of painting from nature. Her views around Loch Laggan reflect her beginnings as a landscape watercolourist under the tuition of the Scottish artist William Leighton Leitch, which began in September 1846. Leitch’s tuition was comprehensive, covering the principles of composition, colouring, light and shade, and he set Victoria homework by means of painstakingly constructed demonstration sheets for her to study and copy. After a few short months, Victoria proudly wrote to her lady-in-waiting and fellow amateur artist Charlotte Canning, stating: ‘I have made great progress in my Drawing since I saw you’. The improvement in the queen’s artistic skills from the late 1840s onwards coincided with Victoria and Albert’s discovery of the north-east of Scotland. In Deeside, they built a private residence, Balmoral Castle, which gave a welcome sense of freedom and privacy to enjoy family life. As she gained confidence 1 as a watercolourist, Victoria’s bolder 34 | ART
sparse and tonally muted treatment of the scene emphasises the landscape’s sublimity – a dramatic and romantic approach that would certainly have appealed to the queen and prince. Though arguably her best work in watercolours stemmed from her careful observation of nature, Victoria’s keen interest in other people also spilled over into her artistic practice. She often drew those around her, including her own children and those of household servants. She depicts Mary Symons and Lizzie Stewart (above), whose fathers both worked on the Balmoral Estate. As is clear from her inscription, the queen drew the girls on separate occasions but grouped them together on this sheet. Again, a professional artist also painted the ‘dear little lassies’, as Victoria described them. In his large, fluidly painted watercolour, Carl Haag dramatically frames the girls against a rainy, rocky landscape.
compositions and more painterly handling of colour were employed enthusiastically to record these new surroundings: ‘The Scenery all around is the finest almost I have seen anywhere. It is so wild & solitary, yet cheerful & beautifully wooded.’ The royal couple’s favourite local beauty spot was Lochnagar, the name of both a mountain and a loch on the Balmoral Estate – Albert thought Lochnagar ‘very like the Crater of Mount Vesuvius’, and Victoria described it as ‘one of the wildest, grandest things imaginable’. The queen painted the mountain and its surroundings over several decades from many viewpoints, paying close attention to different weather and light effects. Her watercolours are of a lyrical intensity that reflects her romantic, emotional attachment to the Scottish landscape; as she wrote to a relative in 1853, ‘I pine for my dear Highlands, which I get more attached to every year’. Victoria and Albert also commissioned several depictions of Lochnagar from professional artists, such as the view by the Aberdonian landscape painter James Giles, who was much patronised by the queen. The somewhat
Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert wholeheartedly (and probably unwittingly) subscribed to an idealised view of Scotland and the Highlands. They considered its people to be untouched by modernity, and envied what they perceived to be a better, simpler way of life, close to nature. In this they were significantly influenced by the romantic portrayal of Scotland’s history and landscape presented in the poetry and novels of Sir Walter Scott. ‘Oh! Walter Scott is my beau ideal of a poet; I do so admire him in both Poetry and Prose!’, enthused the teenage Victoria in her diary. On an expedition to Loch Muick some years later, she recorded that ‘the beauty, poetry & wildness of the scene . . . quite put me in mind of Walter Scott’s lines in “The Lady of the Lake”.’ Scott’s works also provided picturesque subject matter for another of Victoria’s artistic endeavours which is perhaps lesser known. During her first pregnancy in 1840, the queen and her husband whiled away the time learning to make etchings. Over the next few years, the couple produced prints of a variety of subjects, often working collaboratively, as with the imaginative scene illustrating an episode from Scott’s novel Woodstock, which Albert designed and Victoria etched.
After Albert’s untimely death at the age of 42 in 1861, Balmoral became a sanctuary for the widowed queen. William Leighton Leitch wrote of his relief when, in 1863, Victoria resumed painting and drawing. She undoubtedly achieved a little solace through her sketchbook and colourbox, making views of the places she had first discovered with such joy in the company of her beloved husband. Carly Collier is assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour Until 3 October The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX T: (0)303 123 7306 | rct.uk Open: Thursday to Monday 9.30am–6pm
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ALISON WATT: A PORTRAIT WITHOUT LIKENESS Susannah Thompson
1 Sir Edwin Landseer, Queen Victoria at Loch Laggan, 1847 2 Queen Victoria, [Ardverikie] & Loch Laggan from a road near the house, 1847 3 Queen Victoria, Loch Nagar – from Craig Guie above the Kirk, 1859 4 James Giles, Lochnagar, 1850 5 Queen Victoria, Mary Symons [and] Elizabeth Stewart, 1850 6 Queen Victoria, Scene from Scott's Woodstock, 1841 7 Carl Haag, Lizzie Stewart and Mary Symons, 1853 Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021
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Acclaimed contemporary artist Alison Watt’s fascination with the work of 18th-century portrait painter Allan Ramsay forms the inspiration for her new body of work at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery Against dark blue gallery walls hang 18 very calm, very still paintings. Outside, the summer heat and light and Saturday crowds are intense and oppressive, making this low-lit, top floor room at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery feel even more like a sanctuary than it might on a dark, cool November. The exhibition, A Portrait Without Likeness, presents the work of two artists: two major works by the 18th-century Edinburgh-born painter Allan Ramsay, and 16 new paintings by contemporary artist Alison Watt, made in response to Ramsay’s portraits of women. Over the last 25 years, Alison Watt’s best-known works have been large-scale paintings of drapery and fabric in exhibitions such as Fold (Fruitmarket, 1997) and Shift (2000, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), perhaps leading us to believe that the artist’s route to Ramsay was via his drapery painter, Joseph Van Aken. But Watt, like Ramsay, initially came to prominence for her portraiture and figurative works. Her interest in responding to work of the past has also been an enduring concern: the 2008 exhibition Phantom at the National Gallery, London, included her response to 17th-century Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán’s ‘St. Francis in Meditation’ (1635–9), and a number of her early works bear the influence of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, such as ‘Source III’ of 1995 which references Ingres’s 1814 ‘Grande Odalisque’, or
‘Sleeper’, of 1996, which cites Ingres’s 1842 ‘Odalisque with Slave’. ‘Venus Frigida’ (1611) by Peter Paul Rubens and the haunting 1970s photographs of Francesca Woodman have also fascinated Watt and generated works in response. Far from a change of direction, then, A Portrait Without Likeness extends Watt’s commitment to exploring the history of painting and goes back to an interest in still life which was present all along. Early figurative works, such as the 1995 triptych ‘Anatomy’, make this clear. The new exhibition also continues Watt’s preoccupation with painting textiles: the handkerchiefs, collars and ribbons of ‘Keppel’, ‘Walpole’, ‘Bayne’, ‘Balcarres’ and ‘Anne’ (all 2019–20) make up almost one third of this series. Her palette has remained characteristically pale, muted and harmonious, as though the paintings were designed for the high ceilings and neoclassical hues of Edinburgh’s New Town, just outside the gallery (and the home of some of Ramsay’s Enlightenment sitters as well as Watt’s current studio). The exhibition follows a period of intensive research by Watt into the collection of paintings, drawings and sketchbooks by Ramsay held by the National Galleries of Scotland. Some of these works are included in A Portrait Without Likeness, others as part of the fantastic Scots in Italy display in the next room.
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The 16 works by Watt seem to isolate details from Ramsay’s portraits of women, presenting fragments in close-up: his two wives, Anne Bayne and Margaret Lindsay, are represented by a pink ribbon necklace (‘Anne’, 2019) and a rose (‘Lindsay’, 2019); a lace collar, ‘Balcarres’ (2019-20), appears to be lifted from his painting of the Countess of Balcarres; a book, from his portrait of Caroline Fox, is shown in ‘Fox’ (2019). But are these objects simply citations ‘after Ramsay’ or is it the viewer who makes this assumption? Looking closely, tiny inconsistencies appear: the scale of objects is adjusted, shadows fall in different places, other details (the hazelnuts in ‘Boscawen’) are omitted. With careful attention, then, the paintings reveal an artist in dialogue with Ramsay’s work, not one concerned with verbatim quotation. In this sense, the paintings might represent the results of an artist’s experiential, immersive absorption in historic works of art, a visual counterpart to the experiment in writing which occurs in TJ Clark’s The Sight of Death, a prolonged meditation on Poussin’s ‘Landscape with a Calm’ and ‘Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake’. Scottish painting has often been characterised by its colourist and expressive tendencies, its gestural, bold use of the brush. But there is a parallel tradition to which both Ramsay and Watt belong. In Watt’s case, as a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, a painterly heritage can be traced through a trajectory which includes artists such as Maurice Greiffenhagen, James Cowie and Hugh Adam Crawford. It is a tradition of Scottish painting that favours precision, incisive line and a glacial, harmonious tonality and which looks to quattrocento painting in terms of colour, light, 38 | ART
draughtsmanship and neoclassicism in its smooth surface and brushwork. These qualities, including a deep awareness of art historical precedent, are all present in A Portrait Without Likeness. In considering Ramsay’s work, has Watt, in the words of Joshua Reynolds, regarded the older paintings ‘as models . . . to imitate, and at the same time as rivals with whom to contend’? In ‘Boscawen’ (2019), the object depicted by Watt is a cabbage leaf, almost identical to the leaf held in the hand of Frances Boscawen, painted by Ramsay c.1747–8. It is an eccentric, ambiguous attribute – does it refer to Boscawen’s fecundity or her love of gardening? How is narrative or biography elicited and evoked by this intriguing object? The leaf recalls a similar motif in an early work by Watt – ‘Pears’ (1994) – in which five pears rest in the groin of a nude, reclining woman, generating similar narrative ambiguity. In a recent interview, Watt has spoken of her interest in the relationship between the genres of still life and portraiture, describing still life as an ‘incredibly intimate’ form of biography. Because we attach so much meaning and significance to certain objects, Watt has claimed, they can be seen as a reflection of us. If this is the case, the still life can become ‘a portrait without likeness’. These objects Watt depicts could also be regarded as secular attributes, symbols infused by the aura of their sitter, painted to connote their simultaneous absence and presence. Or perhaps the objects are a kind of relic, ‘inhabited’ by their sitter? After all, most of the objects are named after the women they symbolise: a ribbon becomes ‘Anne’ (2019); a book contains Caroline ‘Fox‘ (2019); a collar, ‘Balcarres’ (2019) retains the trace of Anne, Countess of Balcarres. Do these works look at one another and engage in conversation, as Watt does with Ramsay? For all of their beauty, there is a sense of doubling, splitting and haunting in these paintings, bringing a ghostly, uncanny frisson to this cool, contemplative show. Susannah Thompson is an art historian, writer and critic and head of doctoral studies and professor of contemporary art and criticism at The Glasgow School of Art Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness Until 9 January 2022 Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD T: (0)131 624 6200 | nationalgalleries.org Open: Thursday to Saturday 10am–5pm (entrance currently by pre-booked ticket only)
1 Allan Ramsay, The Artist's Wife: Margaret Lindsay of Evelick (c.1726 - 1782), 1755-56. National Galleries of Scotland. Bequest of Lady Murray of Henderland 1861
2 Alison Watt (b. 1965). Centifolia, 2019. Collection of the Artist © Alison Watt 2
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COP26: WHAT IS ‘ENVIRONMENTAL ART’? Emma Nicolson
As world leaders prepare to converge on Glasgow to tackle the climate emergency at the COP26 summit, Emma Nicolson – head of creative programmes at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – reflects on how artists in Scotland have contributed to the climate debate by engaging with environmental issues The art world loves a label, and there have been many given to art which addresses environmental and climate issues since the late 1960s: land art, earthworks, site-specific art, destination art, ecological art, eco-art and environmental sculpture. So would it be fair to call this work environmental art and, if so, what is environmental art? Certainly the undeniable beauty of works by landscape artists James Morrison or Barbara Rae move us to appreciate nature but would you consider it environmental art? In fact, the use of the word landscape indicates a view of, the act of looking, whereas I feel work that engages with the environment is all-encompassing. Our relationship between the ‘environment’ and the ‘arts’ is constantly shifting and changing. It is one thing to be inspired by nature, but it is quite another to engage with it in an environmental capacity as an artist. At its essence, I feel contemporary environmental art sees artists go further by addressing environmental concerns or working with science, or demonstrating some kind of intention that relates to an ecological or conservation issue. It could be a 40 | ART
social context, or the historical context around something, or a very specific scientific relationship. For that reason, I would like to suggest that the 19th-century female botanists were the first kind of environmental artists who were engaging with environmental concerns because they were excluded from science and botany was considered to be a gentle subject. Recently as part of our work with Cooking Sections (the artistic duo of Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe), we featured a list of these Scottish trailblazing women, women who collected seaweed and made beautiful pressed herbarium specimens which have their own artistic quality and encourage us to understand our relationship with the environment a little bit better. The land art movement of the 1960s saw artists engage with the environment in a very literal sense and in so doing highlighted the catalysing effect of environmental awareness on artists. In this his centenary year, it’s important to remember the arrival of Joseph Beuys here in Scotland in 1970. At the provocation of the inimitable Richard Demarco, Beuys’ work in Scotland and engagement with the environment here not only transformed his
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1 Cooking Sections – Tidal Records, A Study – 2021, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 2 CLIMAVORE Atlas Arts 3 Emma Nicolson. Image © Owen O’Leary
COP26: CREATIVE RESPONSES
4 Hannah Imlach, Moth Kota, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist
own practice but influenced a generation of Scottish artists to take their relationship with nature further. Writing in Studio International in 2005 about the visit, Demarco said: ‘When I eventually met Beuys, he was fully engaged with half a dozen friends who occupied his small studio . . . I wondered what I could offer that would make him concentrate his attention upon Scotland . . . I decided not to ask him to make a new and special artwork, but to concentrate instead upon the physical reality of Scotland, the stuff and substance of its landscape and its cultural heritage.’ Years later, the transformative moment in my own practice came when I visited my first exhibition as an art student at Edinburgh College of Art in 1987. The Unpainted Landscape was a Scottish Arts Council touring exhibition featuring the work of 15 artists, including Scottish sculptor Linda Taylor, Andy Goldsworthy, Iain Patterson, Iain Hamilton Finlay and David Nash. There was something special about this show at the Gallery of Modern Art. For me, this was the first time I saw an exhibition that pushed at the edges and accurately reframed our relationship with the environment. The accompanying catalogue has travelled with me from Skye to Sydney and back again as a reminder of the power of a great exhibition to change the way we see and respond to the environment. It’s become a central tenet of my own curatorial practice, added to a social context where artists can engage directly with the public. As a curator and programmer, the reason I am attracted to art that explores environmental concerns is that it invariably has this social practice within it. The experience of living and working in Australia, and then in Skye at ATLAS Arts, listening and learning from indigenous engagement with place and the idea of place being a living thing, are some of the reasons why I continually seek out artists that want to interrogate and explore this. For that reason, I admire the work of Dalziel + Scullion who for over 25 years have created artworks that are research-based, often in collaboration not just with scientists exploring ecological issues but with musicians, philosophers and more, all to create a total immersion in the environment. In addition, with works like ‘More 42 | ART
than Us’ (2008) and ‘Homing’ (2018), Dalziel + Scullion encourage us to view the world through the lens of non-human species. Most recently, I have been wowed by Hannah Imlach’s ‘Moth Kota’ unveiled this month at Loch Lomond Nature Reserve. The sculpture, designed around the behavioural cycles and sensory world of moths, incorporates a space for a multi-species encounter (!) and opens our eyes to the interdependent nature of our ecosystem. It is the kind of artwork that perfectly marries research and artistic flair and evolves our understanding of the environment. That’s at the crux of all great environmental art. That and how do we build people’s understanding and skills in experiencing nature and engaging with nature? How can you move minds? In some cases, it’s simply through a work that sparks conversation, that does something that is loud and visual (like a giant golden monkey on the side of a gallery). And then there is the quiet research-based practice that is working alongside science and ecological practice like Hannah Imlach – for example, Christine Borland’s ‘In Relation to Linum’ or like Cooking Sections who worked on the CLIMAVORE project in Skye with me. What’s certain is that while artists have different ways of responding to the climate crisis and different approaches to creating work that engages with the environment, it is more vital than ever that these artist voices are heard and given the opportunities and platforms to create work that does move minds and spark change. Emma Nicolson is head of creative programmes at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Christine Borland: In Relation to Linum Until 3 October Climate House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Arboretum Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5NZ T: (0) 131 248 2909 | rbge.org.uk Daily 10.30am–4pm (free but ticketed)
Running alongside COP26, which has been described as ‘the last best chance to get runaway climate change under control’, a cultural programme will stimulate engagement with environmental issues across Scotland and around the world
Climate Beacons In the months ahead of COP26, seven Climate Beacons around Scotland bring together cultural and environmental partners to inspire engagement with the issues. From Midlothian to Wick to the Outer Hebrides, the Beacons, funded by Creative Carbon Scotland, are physical spaces for discussions, events, artists’ projects and more. Each Beacon will focus on issues crucial to that area. In Argyll, artist residency centre Cove Park will partner with ACT (Argyll & the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust) to highlight the issue of Scotland’s temporate rainforest, rare coastal forests which are now endangered. In Fife, the Leven Programme, ONFife and Levenmouth Academy will come together around the River Leven to share stories of industrial heritage and look towards a low-carbon future. In Inverclyde, at the (appropriately named) Beacon Arts Centre, a range of projects will consider how to mitigate climate change while continuing to recover from Covid-19, while in Dundee, a group of organisations including Dundee Rep, Scottish Dance Theatre and V&A Dundee propose a 12-month pilot scheme using design-led innovation to move towards a more sustainable future.
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Wayne Binitie at Glasgow Science Centre
Pilgrimage for COP26
Artist Wayne Binitie has long been fascinated by ice. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, now studying for a PhD funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, he has worked with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey to extract from an Antarctic ice core sample an ampule of air from 1765. Placed within an original glass sculpture, it is an encapsulated moment from the beginning of the industrial revolution, before the age of fossil fuels. While COP26 convenes, it’s a chance to think about Antarctic ice as an archive of climate history, and the power of art to make us consider issues bigger than ourselves.
Artist-led organisation North Light Arts in Dunbar has helped organise a pilgrimage from Dunbar to Glasgow at the time of COP26, along two well-trodden paths: the John Muir Way (as far as Kirkintilloch) and the St Ninian’s Way (from Kirkintilloch to Glasgow). A programme of events will take place en route. Co-curator Jonathan Baxter said: ‘Pilgrimages are common cultural practice. Historically associated with religions, today they speak to a wider public searching for meaning through an interest in history, identity, roots, and heritage. A key question animating the pilgrimage is: “How can we honour the mutual bond that exists between people and planet, a bond that sustains our very existence?’”
curiousabout.glasgowsciencecentre.org/ourplanet artandecology.earth/pilgrimage-for-cop26 2
The Climate Connection For COP26, the British Council issued an open call for proposals for cultural events, projects and collaborations from all over the world. From 480 submissions, they selected 17 to happen within their programme, The Climate Connection. The projects use diverse platforms, from performance to virtual reality, comic books and social media, aiming to engage young people and reach other groups underrepresented at the COP26 table. A shipping container at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is the base for Climate Portals in which technology enables connections between artists and performers from the UK with countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. National Theatre of Scotland partners with ThinkArts in India to create ‘Millipede’, an art installation disguised as an online shoe shop. Visitors open virtual shoe boxes to experience films, artworks, poems and songs created by community groups in India and Scotland and reflect on their own carbon footprint. Scottish Youth Theatre helps host Phone Call to the World, which brings together young people from three continents to create performances which relate to climate change issues in their own countries, and Museum of Plastic – a virtual space which can be visited through your smartphone – looks forward to a world in which single-use plastics have been banned and the climate crisis averted.
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The Dear Green Bothy Organised by the University of Glasgow’s College of the Arts, The Dear Green Bothy project is a programme of free events and activities at which artists, researchers and communities can gather in the lead up to and during COP26. Events scheduled so far include a virtual field trip inside a playthrough of a Pokémon game, a programme of documentaries about environmental resistance led by women in Africa and a downloadable audio tour of Glasgow exploring ideas of acoustic ecology and noise pollution.
1 Cove Park. Photo © Ruth Clark 2 Wayne Binitie, Glass Sculpure. Courtesy of Glasgow Science Centre © The Artist
Established by the Repository of the Undercommons, which in turn came out of a project by the collective Enough! Scotland, Climate Change Creative has put out an open call for art on environmental themes and poster designs, texts and images. All the work will be shown on the group’s website, with some being made into posters to be exhibited in Glasgow city centre during COP26. The group is particularly keen to receive work from those who will be unrepresented or underrepresented at the event itself.
3 The first portal built by Amar C. Bakshi in Washington DC USA. © Amar C. Bakshi and Elizabeth Bick for Shared Studios
Climate Change Creative
4 Jonathan Baxter, Pilgrimage for COP26, image courtesy of the artist 5 Green Poetry for Change event, image courtesy of The Dear Green Bothy Project
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RECENT ACQUISITIONS Scottish Art News highlights the latest acquisitions to enter Scottish collections
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The repeated closure of giant African snails present in the artist’s galleries and museums throughout hometown. The gold ink also serves as a 2020–21 has not led to a marked decline potent reminder of the ever-present role of in acquisitions, with exciting purchases trade, wealth and power in such histories. enhancing collections across Scotland Edinburgh University also recently over the last year. However, recent events purchased Tayo Adekunle’s, ‘Reclamation have clearly had an impact on what many of the Exposition #03’ 2020. In these collections are purchasing and how. The powerful, photographic works, presented UK Government Collection reviewed by Adekunle in the 2020 Edinburgh their acquisitions procedures and reached College of Art Degree Show, the artist out to the national contemporary visual art replaces and recreates historical figures networks rather than their advisory panel and poses with her own image in for guidance on what to buy during this a bid to illustrate how past treatment of challenging time. Networks were asked the black body remains an issue in the to put forward the names of four to six present day. artists who live in or are from their areas 3 and are representative of demographic The University of Glasgow diversity. Following the advice of the has purchased ‘Creole Earring II’, the Scottish Visual Art Network (SCAN), centrepiece of Jimmy Roberts’ exhibition works by Jamie Crewe, Atelier E.B (the Tobacco Flower, shown at the Hunterian company name under which designer during Glasgow International (GI). In this Beca Lipscombe and artist Lucy McKenzie exhibition, Roberts’ drew upon artworks sign their collaborative projects), Rabiyah and objects in the Hunterian’s collection, Choudhry and Alberta Whittle now form including textile designs by Charles part of the Government’s collection. SCAN Rennie Mackintosh. ‘[The works] explore director Moira Jeffrey described the new the delicate traces of colonial history, of initiative as ‘supporting artists through the identity formation and the transformation pandemic and telling a richer story about of decorative forms,’ explains curator who is making art today, where, how Dominic Paterson. ‘In “Creole Earring and why.’ II”, Roberts poses in the Hunterian’s reconstruction of Mackintosh’s former Alberta Whittle’s work has home, his body echoing a photograph by 2 also been purchased by the University Peter Hujar of a famous New York drag of Edinburgh, where Whittle is a PhD queen. The artist wears an exaggerated candidate. Whittle’s art reflects on hoop earring, thus playing with signs memory, trauma and the legacy and of gender and racial identity. The work implications of post-colonial power, continues Robert’s practice of questioning concerns that have been particularly how black and queer bodies become prevalent over the last year as the visible within the spaces of art history.’ inequalities in our society have come Another important, recent acquisition for even more to the fore. ‘Secreting Myths’ the Hunterian is Quarantaine, Georgina is a series of laser-engraved woodblock Starr’s most ambitious film work to date, prints drawn from engravings by artist which imagines how women might gain Theodore de Bry, depicting Columbus’ new agency over the representation of first arrival and subsequent violent their bodies and desires. The work was suppression of indigenous peoples in the co-commissioned by the Hunterian and Americas. The sourced imagery, inverted shown at Tramway, also as part of GI. by Whittle to render it more challenging to read, is embossed with a shimmering gold snail trail; a reference to the invasive 1
8 Glasgow Museums has marked 6 The City of Edinburgh In Dundee, The McManus: the 25th anniversary of the Gallery of Museums & Galleries has acquired a Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum has Modern Art (GoMA) this year with an significant collection of contemporary purchased portraits of Captain James exciting new commission of a bold abstract paintings through the purchase of and Mrs Katherine Neish by George ceramic work by James Rigler, purchased works by Michael Craik, James Lumsden Chinnery (1774–1852). The acquisition through the Jackson Tang Ceramics and Eric Cruikshank. ‘The development highlights the historic links between Award 2020. ‘Old Money’ was installed of abstraction in Scotland is an underDundee and India in the city’s collection. in GoMA in June and takes the form explored narrative in the wider story of Captain Neish brought the first jute from of a new frieze, which responds to the Scottish art,’ explains curator Helen Scott. India to Dundee around 1832, with the ornate carving of the GoMA galleries ‘It was felt that by acquiring these works firm Balfour and Meldrum spinning it and and the space’s history as the former we were acknowledging its importance starting Dundee’s jute industry. ‘Despite Royal Exchange building. GoMA also and reflecting its continuation into the the long, historic links between Dundee recently acquired a capsule collection of 21st century.’ The City Art Centre has and India, there is very little evidence of four works by Maud Sulter, including the also acquired a portfolio of 29 prints from this in our permanent collection,’ says first acquisition for a collection of a video Edinburgh Printmakers, produced to curator Anna Robertson. ‘By the end of work by the artist – Plantation (1995). celebrate the opening of the organisation’s the 19th century, the majority of Dundee’s The acquisition ensures that Sulter is Castle Mills premises in 2019. The portfolio working population was employed in the represented in the city’s civic collection features prints by 16 different artists who jute industry. Dundee remains known where she grew up. It joins other works have worked with Edinburgh Printmakers as the City of the 3 J’s – jute, jam and acquired for Glasgow Museums by over the years, including Katie Dove, Carol journalism. In acquiring this portrait, we freelance curators Mother Tongue through Rhodes, Ade Adesina, Graham Todd, have put a face to the man responsible the Afro Scots project, a research project Robert Powell, Anupa Gardner, Tessa for importing the first jute from India to funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Asquith-Lamb and Mike Inglis. Dundee.’ Studies in British Art which seeks to bring together into a single narrative for the first 7 There is a particularly compelling 9 The West Highland Museum’s time the work of black artists in Scotland, story behind the National Trust for acquisition of ‘October in Knoydart’ by past and present. Scotland’s acquisition of Philip de Laszlo’s Sir David Young Cameron (1865-1945) ‘Portrait of Lorna Marsali Woodroffe concludes curator Vanessa Martin’s 5 The University of Stirling’s Lang’ (1916) for Fyvie Castle. The portrait search for a suitable painting of the West Art Collection has recently acquired was commissioned in 1913 by Lorna Highlands by the artist: ‘[David Young two screenprints of hands by Ciara Marsali’s grandmother, Lady Leith of Fyvie, Cameron] had close links with the area Phillipps. The works, ‘Eros and Psyche’ for Fyvie Castle. However, Lorna’s marriage and our museum,’ Martin explains. ‘He was and ‘Make it Last’, (2018) have taken on in 1916 to an Army captain was deemed one of our earliest museum members and a new meaning following the Covid-19 unsuitable and she was estranged from in 1928 printed proofs from the Strange pandemic: ‘Hands represent a source her family, which meant the portrait did Plate, an 18th-century copper printing of comfort, but also, now in particular, a not make it on to the walls of the castle, plate commissioned by Prince Charles source of contamination,’ explains curator remaining instead in Lorna’s own family. Edward Stuart during the 1745 Jacobite Jane Cameron. ‘The works explore the ‘When the opportunity came to bring this Rising.’ ‘October in Knoydart’ now hangs concept of touch in a time when we are painting back to Fyvie Castle and hang it in the Fort William-based museum’s discouraged from touching each other or where it had been intended, I was intrigued Jacobite gallery, adjacent to the printing things.’ The two prints will be displayed and set out on a path to explore the past,’ plate and one of Cameron’s 1928 prints. opposite each other in the university’s explains NTS curator Vikki Duncan. ‘It gallery space over the next year, curated seems that Lorna and her mother Ethel to appear as though they are physically were, eventually, able to reconcile their pushing the walls apart to make space for differences. By placing their portraits the required social distancing. together, within the immediate family grouping, it highlights a tale of love, loss and reconciliation that resonates with us all.’ 4
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And finally, back to the Hunterian, which recently seized the opportunity to purchase ‘Neidpath Castle’ (c.1770), a rarely available, early work by Jacob More, painted before his move to Italy. ‘Only three of [More’s] paintings dealing with Scottish subject-matters – views of the Falls of Clyde – have found their way into public collections so far, and they rarely appear on the market,’ explains curator Anne Dulau, highlighting the importance of the acquisition. The work joins the Hunterian’s impressive group of early Scottish landscapes, which also includes the only landscapes by Charles Steuart and Charles Cordiner in public collections to date.
1a Artist duo Atelier E.B. 1b Jamie Crewe, A slab - The wild heart of Ireland, 2020 1c Rabiya Choudhry, photograph by Eoin Carey 1d Alberta Whittle, photograph by Matthew A Williams Images 1a–1d courtesy of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network 2a Alberta Whittle, Secreting Myths. Image courtesy of The University of Edinburgh 2b Tayo Adekunle's, Reclamation of the Exposition #03, 2020. Image courtesy of The University of Edinburgh 3 Jimmy Roberts, Creole Earring II. Image courtesy of The University of Glasgow Purchased with support from National Fund for Acquisitions and The Art Fund 4a James Rigler, Old Money. Image courtesy of Gallery of Modern Art 4b Maud Sulter, Langston knew Paris well and Gwendolyn Bennett in Paris was homesick for New York from Paris Noir (1990) and Proverbs for Adwoa (1992). © The Estate of Maud Sulter. Acquired through Art Fund New Collecting Award with additional support from National Fund for Acquisitions
5 Ciara Phillipps, Eros and Psyche. Image courtesy of The University of Stirling. Purchased with support from National Fund for Acquisitions 6a Michael Craik, Vestige, 2019 © the artist 6b James Lumsden, Fugue, 2011 © the artist 6c Eric Cruikshank, Untitled 2, 2019 © the artist. Purchased with support from National Fund for Acquisitions Images courtesy of The City of Edinburgh Museums & Galleries 7 Philip de László, Portrait of Lorna Marsali Woodroffe Lang. Image courtesy of the National Trust for Scotland. Purchased with support from National Fund for Acquisitions and The Art Fund
8a/b George Chinnery (1774–1852), Captain James and Mrs Katherine Neish. Image courtesy of The McManus. Purchased with support from National Fund for Acquisitions and The Art Fund 9 Sir David Young Cameron, October in Knoydart. Image courtesy of West Highland Museum. Purchased with support from National Fund for Acquisitions and The Art Fund
10 Jacob More, Neidpath Castle, 1770. © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow. Purchased with support from the National Fund for Acquisitions and The Art Fund
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While lockdown has created a mini boom for some in the Scottish art market, others have found the pandemic more challenging There were no murmurs of surprise in the saleroom when a 14th-century gothic ivory casket sold for nearly £1.5million after a dramatic ten minutes of bidding, no ripple of shock across the assembled crowd. There was no sound at all because there was no crowd; the only person in the saleroom was the auctioneer. The casket broke the record for the highest price ever achieved by an object at auction in Scotland (£1,455,000, including buyers’ premium) at an online sale at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh in May. After a year of online auctions, the record price simply confirmed what managing director Gavin Strang has described as ‘an incredible year for art and antiques’. When the country went into lockdown in March 2020, Lyon & Turnbull took a decision Strang says felt like ‘a monstrous gamble’. Instead of cancelling the Decorative Arts: Design from 1860 sale they had planned for early April, they decided to go ahead online. The overwhelming success of that sale (which was followed by 28,000 people) gave them the confidence to continue with online sales, and inspired other auction houses to follow suit. After 15 months, they report sell-through rates up by 10 per cent, coupled with ‘the kinds of prices that we haven’t seen for a long time’.
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due to the fact that people were at home and had expendable income, anything we sent out, whether emails or social media, got immediate responses. And we were able to apply ourselves to the exhibitions instead of being distracted by the day to day life of the gallery.’ She said the amount buyers were prepared to pay for unseen works increased significantly, from a pre-lockdown figure of around £5000 up to £20,000 and even £50,000. ‘As is often the case in extremis, people tend to home in on things they are more familiar with. Our John Byrne show was a great success, and we’re seeing the same pattern with names from the past.’ She says while online marketing will continue, the challenge is to stay focused now the gallery is open again. ‘I’ve noticed a slight distraction with the return to the retail space and the admin
Strang says several things help account for the ‘mini boom’, such as buyers having disposable income they couldn’t spend on luxuries such as travel, and lockdown life inspiring more people to invest in objects for their homes. While pivoting online was a steep learning curve under the strictest lockdown conditions, the company quickly adopted 3D Matterport technology (before lockdown, most widely used by estate agents) to create film and 3D imaging. Now, this technology is here to stay. ‘We’ve leapt into a digital future and there’s no going back,’ Strang says. ‘In the old days, two or three hundred people came to an auction, now two or three thousand view an object online. Some people will come back to auctions, but I don’t think everyone will. If they trust the technology and trust the brand, they have realised how easy it is to bid on a mobile device wherever you are.’ Art dealership the Fine Art Society, based in Edinburgh and London, is also reporting ‘a fantastic year for sales’ despite the pandemic. When it became clear lockdown would not be over quickly, managing director Emily Walsh says she and her team threw themselves into engaging audiences digitally. ‘In Edinburgh, we’ve always had to go out to people, so we are reasonably used to that. I think,
that brings. We need to prioritise the picture over everything else, that’s what we were able to do in lockdown.’ When Edinburgh’s Scottish Gallery had to close its doors in March 2020, it was the first period of closure in the gallery’s 179-year history. Managing director Christina Jansen said it was an anxious time, with The Art Newspaper predicting that galleries of their size would find it hardest to survive the pandemic. ‘I decided we had to have a plan,’ she says. ‘I didn’t want to give up on the history and the artists we represent. There was a moment of fear when I thought, “how relevant are we in a pandemic?” But we quickly found out – the feedback was immediate. Art was a release from all the anxiety.’
The gallery team threw themselves into creating online content. A series of films, Great Scots in Isolation, was launched, monthly newsletters became weekly, and they soon realised the potential for virtual studio visits and even virtual private views to engage a wider, more diverse audience. New clients appeared online from North America, Australia and New Zealand, though access to European markets was ‘stuffed by Brexit’. Jansen says she takes nothing for granted going forward, and believes the economic impact of the pandemic could continue to affect the art market for up to two years. ‘My only thought last year was: “how do we get to 2021?” and we’re very, very grateful to be here. We’ve had great feedback from audiences and artists, but that doesn’t mean we have a formula. We have to continue to be innovative to remain relevant, but we have a better toolkit now.’ The pandemic meant big changes to the modus operandi of Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery, whose focus is usually on engaging with collectors through international art fairs. However, as director Richard Ingleby says, they were perhaps better prepared for the crisis than some of their competitors. ‘The galleries we compete with are mostly in New York, Berlin, Shanghai, London, Paris, places where there is much more footfall. When everybody’s doors closed in March, we felt, for the first time ever, that we were on a level playing field, and we were a bit further forward. We’ve always had to work really hard to engage people at a distance. We were watching some of the bigger galleries floundering around with online engagement and we were just getting on with it.’
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The key, he said, has been to tell stories and provide ‘magazine style’ content for audiences with more time on their hands: ‘It’s all about contact and that, over the course of time, did lead to sales because it led to conversations.’ The gallery decided early on not to mount online exhibitions but to develop projects such as The Unseen Masterpiece, linking works by different artists who have worked with the gallery, and devising other story-based digital content. The success of this was confirmed when the exhibition by Kevin Harman, installed just before the second lockdown in December, led to sales of 12 works, most of them before the gallery reopened. Richard Ingleby says that, while the appetite for contemporary art worldwide remains strong, collectors are now suffering from digital saturation. ‘All the art fairs have gone online and that worked for a bit, but now collectors are fed up with the idea of online browsing through 150 galleries. The bigger galleries have mostly ditched their virtual gallery spaces.’ While the gallery has weathered the storm in good shape – sales are down but, due to significantly lower overheads, profits are slightly up – the aim is to return to art fairs as travel opens up. ‘The fact is we have sold fewer art works, and because the point of our gallery is to sell the work of living artists, their lives are much more compromised. We want to get back out on the road in order to sell work and send more money to more artists.’ The welfare of artists is also a primary concern for Patricia Fleming, director of Glasgowbased contemporary art gallery Patricia Fleming Projects. While several of her artists are engaged in public art projects and commissions, it has been a difficult year: ‘Artists are good at diversifying, but programmes are flatlining, everyone is trying to sandwich two years of shows into 2021.’ Fleming made the difficult decision to move out of her permanent gallery space in lockdown to cut costs, and will now continue her programme in temporary exhibition spaces. She said online sales during the pandemic have not been strong. ‘The sales we made this year were to local collectors in the times when we were able to be open. People were visiting the digital site and enjoying it, but it wasn’t until they got in front of the art that they were making a commitment to buy.’
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The pandemic has accentuated the gap between contemporary art galleries which are connecting with international audiences and those who rely more on local markets. Meanwhile, the pressure to maintain online engagement and content puts increasing demands on staff. ‘Moving forward, we’re going to have to accept we’ve had the rug pulled from under us just as we thought the recession might be turning a corner – and then there’s Brexit. I had to choose whether to keep my space on and lose one of my team or move out of my space. I chose to prioritise my team. It’s a struggle, but we want to be optimistic – we’re still here!’ She encouraged the Scottish Government to consider more support for Scotland-based contemporary galleries, citing those forced to close in the last decade including Doggerfisher, Sorcha Dallas and Mary Mary. ‘The Scottish Government needs to make more of the art sector. In order to have a cultural industry where people are able to make a living in a sustainable way, we need more support. ‘If they’re not going to take it seriously and build a market at home, they have to give us funding to access markets elsewhere.’
Neil Cooper 1 Karla Black, Looking Glass number 16, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo © Tom Nolan. 2 Karla Black, Waiver For Shade (detail), 2021. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo © Tom Nolan.
The Fruitmarket, Edinburgh Until 24 October
1 14th Century French Gothic Casket, sold at Lyon & Turnbull’s ‘Five Centuries: Furniture, Paintings & Works of Art’ auction in May 2021, achieving £1,455,000 including premium. Image courtesy of Lyon & Turnbull 2 John Byrne, Me & Him II, 2020, from Byrne’s exhibition ‘Welcome to My World’ at the Fine Art Society in summer 2020. Works sold between £950 - £20,000. Image courtesy of the Fine Art Society
Karla Black: sculptures (2001–2021) details for a retrospective
3 Kevin Harman, Synthetic Nature Reserve, 2018, from Harman’s exhibition ‘Kevin Harman’ at Ingleby in spring 2021. Works sold between £20,000 - £65,000. Image courtesy the Artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh. Photograph: John McKenzie 4 Kate Downie, Still from the Scottish Gallery’s series ‘Great Scots in Isolation’, 2020. Image courtesy of The Scottish Gallery. Image: Michael Wolchover
Karla Black has been mining for gold for more than two decades now. Over that time, the accrued objects of her sculptural desires have often looked like they’ve been put together with stuff gathered from the mess of a playpen and transformed into retro-future relics occupying an adventure playground of the imagination. A decade on from her Fruitmarket-curated Venice Biennale show – the same year she was nominated for the Turner Prize – where better for Black to run riot again than the former fruit and veg storeroom turned nightclub that makes up the Edinburgh gallery’s newly expanded space, christened ‘The Warehouse’. The Fruitmarket’s existing galleries house an array of Black’s older confections. Upstairs, almost the entire floor has become a pink powdered planet, with reels of cotton linking the threads that line its surface or else left dangling in a new iteration of ‘Punctuation is pretty popular: nobody wants to admit to much’ (2008/2021). Downstairs, scrunched up brown paper and cellophane constructions
held together (probably) with sticky-backed plastic hang in mid-air like makeshift hammocks on a desert island after a storm, or surprise birthday decorations of diplomatically indeterminate age. The party continues by way of smeared makeup bag reflections and what looks like Jenga played with slices of wedding cake that threaten to topple any second into the rouge-laden boudoir it’s been left inside. The best game of all is the surprise mystery tour along the corridor to the much darker Warehouse. Stripped back from its former fun-palace finery to bare brick and steel, in the shadows, a small mountain of earth sits dappled with gold and copper leaf. From a distance, it looks like a tent draped in Christmas tree lights after dark. On the ground, the earth is patterned in a way that resembles cartoon tunnels with pictorial shapes made from the dirt marking out fresh territory. While nothing is actually dug up, the effect of this new work ‘Waiver For Shade’ (2021) is part architectural, part archaeological, as it gives a sparkly
attired nod to what was here before, while simultaneously setting down foundations for a bright new future beyond. Three new wall-based works reiterate the child’s play of all this with their smudges of paint and eye shadow that seep out onto the windows. Rather than treating the space with kid gloves, then, ‘Waiver For Shade’ makes itself comfy and gets stuck in, never mind the mess. As it comes blinking into the light, it sets the tone for the shapes of things to come. Neil Cooper is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh Karla Black: sculptures (2001–2021) details for a retrospective The Fruitmarket 45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF T: (0)131 225 2383 | fruitmarket.co.uk Open: Daily 11am–6pm (café and bookshop from 10am)
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1 Hardeep Pandhal, Eye Needle Dick Noodle by Mum and Me, 2017 © the artist. Courtesy the artist 2 Tai Shani, Tragodía, 2019. Installation view: Temple Bar Gallery + Studios © the artist. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Kasia Kaminska
Aberdeen Art Gallery Until 10 October, then touring Every five years, since 1979, Hayward Gallery Touring has organised a survey show of British contemporary art. The ninth British Art Show was meant to premier in Manchester last September, then in Wolverhampton in March, and now finally opens its doors at Aberdeen Art Gallery. It’s a time-consuming show to see, featuring the work of 33 artists (out of 47 in total across the four venues) over three floors, plus a dedicated film programme. And there’s work in every conceivable medium. Curators Irene Aristizabal and Hammad Nasar went looking for artists who are addressing the times and, although the selection was made before the pandemic, they address issues which seem to have come more sharply into focus in the past 15 months: race politics, the environment, proposals for new ways of organising society. The Aberdeen iteration of the show has a particular focus on our relationship with the planet and with human and non-human neighbours. Patrick Goddard’s superb film ‘Animal 54 | ART
Antics’, about a woman walking round a zoo with her talking dog, is a pithy insight into our contradictory relationship with the animal world. Hanna Tuulikki’s work, in which singers imitate the calls of birds, engages with nature in a very different way, through observation and myth. There is a willingness to engage with difficult histories, from the sombre tones of Hrair Sarkissian’s ‘Deathscape’, the soundscape of forensic archaeologists excavating mass graves, to Glasgow-based Hardeep Pandhal’s response to race issues in engaging comic-influenced drawings and knitting (his mum’s). Every space brings a new subject, a different approach, from Tai Shani’s ‘Neon Hieroglyph’, with its larger-thanlife gothic sculptures, to Kathrin Bohm’s provocative manifestos and flow charts. Uriel Orlow has a whole story to tell about Artemesia afra, a native plant with the potential to fight malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And, tucked away in a corner is Margaret Salmon’s ‘I you me we us’,
made for Dundee Contemporary Arts in 2018, in which two monitors engage in a silent discourse on communication and intimacy. Always thoughtful, it feels prescient in an entirely new way after a year of socially distanced communication. BAS9 is a show about how art shapes our times, but also how our times shape art. Susan Mansfield is an arts journalist based in Scotland British Art Show 9 Aberdeen Art Gallery Schoolhill, Aberdeen, AB10 1FQ T: (0)300 020 0293 | aberdeencity.gov.uk/ AAGM Open: Monday & Wednesday–Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 10am–4pm (entrance currently by pre-booked ticket only) The exhibition will tour in 2022 to Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth
SCOTTISH ART NEWS DIARY
British Art Show 9
Aberdeen British Art Show 9 Aberdeen Art Gallery Until 10 October W: aberdeencity.gov.uk/AAGM British Art Show 9 explores themes of healing, care and reparative history, across four cities: Aberdeen, Manchester, Wolverhampton and Plymouth. The Aberdeen show focuses on ethical cohabitation, in line with the Granite City’s Net Zero vision (see review, page 54).
Bute Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way: Gather and Arrange Mount Stuart 28 August–31 October W: mountstuart.com Exhibition of hand-sewn, architectural quilts and reconstructed fabric works by artists Sheelagh Boyce and Annabelle Harty, presented across the historic house.
Dundee What if…? / Scotland V&A Dundee Until 21 November W: vam.ac.uk/dundee Originally intended to be shown at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, 7N Architects have created this collaborative work to explore the future of the places we call home in response to the theme: ‘How will we live together?’
Night Fever: Designing Club Culture V&A Dundee Until 9 January 2022 W: vam.ac.uk/dundee The first major exhibition exploring the intersection of club culture and design from the 1960s to today. A Love Letter to Dundee: Joseph McKenzie The McManus Until March 2022 W: mcmanus.co.uk Joseph McKenzie’s black and white photographs document the changing landscape of Dundee and its inhabitants, taken between 1964 and 1987.
Edinburgh The Galloway Hoard: VikingAge Treasure National Museum of Scotland Until 12 September W: nms.ac.uk The Galloway Hoard is the richest collection of Vikingage objects ever found, demonstrating Scotland’s connections with the world during this period. This exhibition will then tour to Kirkcudbright Galleries (9 October 2021–10 July 2022), and Aberdeen Museum & Art Gallery (30 July–23 October 2022). James Morrison: A Studio Practice The Scottish Gallery 2–25 September W: scottish-gallery.co.uk A tribute to the late Scottish landscape painter James Morrison, who frequently
exhibited at the Scottish Gallery during his 70-year career. Jock McFadyen: Lost Boat Party Dovecot Studios Until 25 September W: dovecotstudios.com Exhibition of McFadyen’s grand and dystopian paintings of Scottish landscapes, organised in collaboration with the Scottish Gallery to celebrate the artist’s 70th birthday. Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse Until 3 October W: rct.uk Queen Victoria and Prince Albert commissioned many watercolour paintings during their marriage, depicting the monarchy, family life, and much-loved travels to Scotland. The show also includes works by Queen Victoria herself (see feature, page 33). Christine Borland: In Relation to Linum Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Until 3 October W: rbge.org.uk/whats-on/ inverleith-house In Relation to Linum merges science and research with contemporary art, as part of the Climate House programme for 2021.
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Marine: Ian Hamilton Finlay City Art Centre Until 3 October W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/cityart-centre Exhibition exploring the maritime theme that runs throughout Ian Hamilton Finlay’s art and poetry. Charles H Mackie: Colour and Light City Art Centre Until 10 October W: edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/ city-art-centre Major retrospective, including prints, sculpture, oil paintings and watercolours. ANDIAMO: Forty years of the RSA John Kinross Scholarships to Florence Royal Scottish Academy 11 September–17 October W: royalscottishacademy.org A varied exhibition of work by 20 selected artists and architects. Karla Black: sculptures (2001–2021) details for a retrospective Fruitmarket Until 24 October W: fruitmarket.co.uk Exhibition by one of Scotland’s most renowned sculptors. Karla Black inaugurates the newly expanded Fruitmarket. Includes two new commissions (see review, page 53). Hannah Mooney The Scottish Gallery December, dates tbc W: scottish-gallery.co.uk New paintings from the winner of the 2018 Fleming-Wyfold Bursary. Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness Scottish National Portrait Gallery Until 9 January 2022 W: nationalgalleries.org/visit/scottishnational-portrait-gallery Watt explores and responds to the works of the 18th-century Scottish painter Allan Ramsay (see feature, page 37). 56 | ART
Glasgow Margot Sandeman: Poetry & Harmony Gerber Fine Art Until 1 September W: gerberfineart.co.uk Featuring works on paper and oils; from landscapes of the West Coast of Scotland to interior still lifes (read more about Sandeman’s work on page 11). Glasgow Open House: Artists in Isolation Various locations 24–27 September W: glasgowopenhousearts.co.uk This year’s festival explores the lived experiences of artists and the wider community throughout the pandemic, encouraging people to use any spaces and resources available to them. Whistler: Art and Legacy The Hunterian Until 30 October W: gla.ac.uk/hunterian Major exhibition detailing the life and work of the American artist James MacNeill Whistler, featuring works from the Hunterian’s own collection.
Perth Joan Eardley Perth Museum & Art Gallery 27 November 2021–28 February 2022 W: culturepk.org.uk A centenary exhibition celebrating the artist’s life and works, including paintings from the Fleming Collection (see Eardley feature, pages 8–26).
UK wide Margaret Mellis: Modernist Constructs Towner, Eastbourne 16 October 2021–30 January 2022 W: townereastbourne.org.uk
An artist often overlooked in favour of her contemporaries, this exhibition details the life and work of Margaret Mellis, who was one of the founders of the St Ives School; an integral part of British Modernism. Lucy McKenzie Tate Liverpool 20 October 2021–27 March 2022 W: tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool The first UK retrospective of the Glasgowborn artist. The exhibition brings together over 80 work, including architectural paintings, fashion and design, dating from 1997 to the present. Joan Eardley Mottisfont, Hampshire Until November W: nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont See three of Joan Eardley’s works, gifted to Mottisfont in 1996 by the artist Derek Hill: Catterline in Winter, Study of a Burn, and Cornfields, September. Jock McFadyen: Tourist without a Guidebook Royal Academy, London 5 February–10 April 2022 W: royalacademy.org.uk Over 20 of McFadyen’s large-scale paintings exploring the changing urban landscape of London over 30 years.
Elsewhere ASSEMBLY The Venice Glass Week, Venice 4–12 September W: northlandscreative.co.uk Glass artists from around the world who have worked with North Lands Creative over the last 25 years have been invited to submit artworks interpreting the ‘paperweight’ for the Caithness organisation’s Venice exhibition.