Mike Vickers' Blog

July 18, 2011

Scottish Portraiture

Filed under: Personal — derryvickers @ 8:16 am

Nice programme on Scottish portraiture by Peter Capaldi.  His theme was that Scotland’s artists have taken to painting portraits like no other.  The rest of the world has moved to abstracts – Pollock and Rothko while Scotland keeps to portraits Steven Campbell, Ken Currie and Peter Howson – as Capaldi called then – the new Glasgow Boys

Peter Howson

He starts way back in the 16th century with George Jamesone, moves through Allan Ramsay to Henry Raeburn, David Wilkie and Gavin Hamilton.  Incidentally I was impressed by the number of Raeburns at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Allan RamsayHenry Raeburn








Into the 19th century with Alexander Naismith to the Glasgow Boys – notably James Guthrie.  And then into the early 20th century with the Colourists with JD Fergusson and into the 1950’s with Joan Eardley

James Guthrie

JD Fergusson

Joan Eardley

This does not mean that Scottish Painters have only painted portraits – there have been great landscape painters – I particularly like Peploe and   Cadell, two other Colourists – but the key point that Capaldi is making is that while the rest of the world is moving to abstract paintings, more traditional painting and in particular portrait painting is alive and well in Scotland.

For those who have the opportunity why not take a visit to recently restored National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.  For those like me who think JD Fergusson is one of the best Scottish painters of the 20th century, he has his own gallery in Perth.

PS the portraits here are my selection rather than those of Capaldi’s; though his were good too and we do overlap once or twice!

PS Peter Capaldi is an actor well known for his colourful protrayal of a thinly disguised  Alastair Campbell – Tony Blair’s communications director in the  TV series, ‘In the Thick of It’ .

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