Gallery staff working at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh have curated a new digital exhibition that draws on the city’s vast collection of Scottish art relating to the capital.
The online exhibition offers audiences a chance to explore Edinburgh, a city steeped in history, as encapsulated by some of the country’s most celebrated artists of all time including – Alexander Nasmyth, Edwin George Lucas, William Crozier, Maggie Milne and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.
Titled Edinburgh: Our City, the exhibition showcases 22 digitised oil and acrylic representations that explore the capital’s historic streets, landmark moments and ongoing transition.
Through the eyes of the artistic greats, we are taken on a whistle stop tour of Edinburgh’s history, from the 18th century execution of villainous city councillor Deacon Brodie, and the royal visit of King George IV in 1822, to the 1980s and reliving the simple pleasure of supping on a pint of McEwan's 80/- in the Diggers, and on to forgotten childhood memories of time spent staring out with wonder from the lofty window of a now demolished Sighthill high rise.
The new digital show is curated by Margaret Findlay, Learning & Public Programmes Manager with Museums & Galleries Edinburgh and features works selected by members of the front of house team, who have chosen their personal favourites and have attached their own commentary. There is also a guest inclusion, an inter-war view of a rain soaked West End, picked and penned by yours truly, on behalf of Scotland on Sunday and the Lost Edinburgh Facebook page.
Margaret Findlay, Learning and Public Programmes Manager, said: “In the midst of the current crisis, we are learning the value of digital engagement and it has given us the opportunity to think in new ways to reach new audiences.
"We are mindful how much our visitors love to see paintings from our collection depicting old Edinburgh, so it was a perfect opportunity to curate a digital exhibition on this subject, also involving our valued front of house team who are currently furloughed.
"Edinburgh: Our City harnesses the rich stories in our paintings with the tales and memories our colleagues have to tell. I am also delighted to feature a guest choice by David McLean.”
Patrick Vaughan, Retail and Reception Assistant, revealed his chosen work - Window View at Sighthill by Donald Provan - for the exhibition depicts a scene that is extremely close to home.
He said: “I spent six years of my life gazing out of this window (my bedroom to be exact). The artist has caught everything that I remember from this view, so with one simple picture there are a large number of memories invoked. The subtle greyness encapsulates all that is endearing about this exhibit.
"Many pictures of Edinburgh show a vibrancy of colour and show iconic landmarks, which makes this picture unusual.”
Visitor assistant Lynn Fulton, who chose William Crozier’s impressionistic View from the Mound, said: “Painted 100 years ago, this painting has a timeless quality that resonates with today.
“Before Covid this view would be busy, with people marvelling at the views while meandering their way up to the castle. One year later, this iconic setting is quiet and deserted.”
Edinburgh: Our City is open from today and runs until July 2021 via Art UK’s curations strand.