We look forward to exhibiting them in Edinburgh between September
For much of the last century, the Victorian house on the outskirts of Arbroath has been a unique place of education, debate and exchange for young Peter howson and joan eardley scottish in Scotland.
Around artists have passed through its doors. Published earlier this year, Students of Hospitalfield: Education and Inspiration in 20th Century Art, by Dr Peggy Beardmore, is the first book to tell the story of this remarkable place.
Fascinated by its history, Walter Scott used it as the inspiration for the estate of Monksbarns in his novel The Antiquary. It was a commission to produce illustrations for a new edition of the novel that brought artist Patrick Allan to the house as a visitor in Allan had been born in Arbroath into a family of small business owners and skilled workers.
During his visit to the then much smaller, simpler Hospitalfield House, he became acquainted with Elizabeth Fraser, the heiress to the estate. The couple were married the following year. When he came into his legal inheritance, he added the Fraser name to his own. Allan-Fraser set about transforming the house in keeping with his passions as an artist and now a gentleman.
His developments included the spacious Picture Gallery, hung with the work of his Edinburgh circle and displaying the sculptures, objects and furniture he had brought back from his travels in Europe.
Allan-Fraser was a polymath. His interests included architecture, social reform, economics, religion and soil science. When a new source of clean water was required after a cholera epidemic in Arbroath, he helped locate it, helped fund the building of the water tower and advised on the architecture.
But art was his passion, and when he died inhe left his estate and capital to fund a school of art at Hospitalfield, aimed particularly at those who lacked the means to pay for an art education for themselves.
Sadly, the Allan-Fraser Art College was short lived. It struggled financially, and the First World War and the recession which followed brought further challenges.
Inthe majority of the trustees petitioned the Court of Session to dissolve the college, sell the estate and transfer the remaining funds into a Royal Scottish Academy scheme for new graduates, but the plea was rejected.
A new model was needed. Two years later, the first students arrived, and the artist James Cowie was appointed the first artist-warden. He remained in the post until and painted his masterpiece, The Evening Star, during the war years in the studio at Hospitalfield.
Their influence on many students of the time is clear, and for those who preferred a different approach, there could be colourful disagreements.
A new era began in when William Reid took over as warden, employing a different artist-in-residence every summer to work with students.
Artists who had been at Hospitalfield as students now returned as teachers. Scottish art schools at the time were rigorous, skills-based institutions, each with a distinctive tenor. At Hospitalfield, students could discover approaches different to the ones they had been taught, and discuss new ideas in art.
The debate about abstraction versus representation raged afresh over many summers. Here, for perhaps the first time, students had space to begin to work out their own style. Fellow student George Donald said: The summer residencies changed lives. John Byrne was inspired to change art schools from Glasgow to Edinburgh though he later switched back to complete his degree.
While it continued to impact the lives of young artists, by the s, Hospitalfield was struggling financially. Inthe Scottish Education Department had issued a series of ambitious recommendations advising the Trust to reach out to a larger number of young artists, renovate the house itself and secure viable income streams for the future.
These questions were never adequately addressed, and the trustees had to sell some of the estate land to developers to avoid further deficits. The regular summer residencies ended and a long period of reassessment and restructuring began.
The current director, Lucy Byatt, was appointed in The question was about running an institution that actually has no money, but has extraordinary historical resources and extraordinary physical resources for artists.
This, she says, is as important now as it was years ago. Artists need environments in which to develop their practice, to fail and to make change and to be brave. Without that fundamental root, we are nothing.In the last two years Sotheby’s Scottish Art Sales have totalled over £ million with exceptional prices for works by Sir John Lavery, The Colourists, The Glasgow Boys, Anne Redpath, Sir Robin Philipson, Joan Eardley, John Bellany, Peter Howson and .
Peter Howson’s (b) auction success has been continually gathering momentum of late and Sotheby’s sale of Scottish Pictures in Edinburgh saw his triptych, The Three Faces of Eve, realise £, – a new auction record for him by a considerable margin.
In the last two years Sotheby’s Scottish Art Sales have totalled over £ million with exceptional prices for works by Sir John Lavery, The Colourists, The Glasgow Boys, Anne Redpath, Sir Robin Philipson, Joan Eardley, John Bellany, Peter Howson and many others.
The Scottish Colourists will feature strongly, as will Anne Redpath, Joan Eardley, Peter Howson and Jack Vettriano and the sale is estimated to bring in the region of £4 million. All of the sale’s offerings will be exhibited at Edinburgh’s Mansfield Traquair between Tuesday, September 15 and Thursday, September 17 and this exhibition is.
Many prominent Scottish artists worked and studied at Hospitalfield during the 20th Century including Joan Eardley, Peter Howson, Will Maclean, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde. The first artist I will be writing about is Peter Howson. He was born in Ayrshire in the year and lived there for most of his life.
He had a great education as he studied at Glasgow School of Art and then moved to London to finish his Masters Degree.