Obituary: Perpetua ‘Pip’ Pope, 97

Perpetua Pope. Picture: contributed
Perpetua Pope. Picture: contributed
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A MUCH-loved contributor to the Edinburgh arts scene known as an exceptional painter has died, just three years shy of her 100th birthday.

Perpetua “Pip” Pope was an esteemed figure long associated with Moray House. She lectured on art at the renowned school up until her retirement in 1973, viewing herself as a painter who taught rather than a teacher who painted.

Her time at the college and the mix of artistic influences in the Capital in the proceeding years was central to her own works.

Pip was born in Solihull, Warwickshire, on May 29, 1916, but moved to Aberdeenshire in her early years to attend school and enjoy a rural upbringing that would bleed through into much of her art.

Her father was a perceptive and passionate art buyer who contributed to his daughter’s own interests in the field.

The blossoming painter would later study art at Edinburgh College, building on her earlier education.

Her diploma was interrupted by the Second World War – a period where she gave service in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

The end of the war signalled a return to her great passion, with Pip taking on a teaching job at Moray House.

Her other posts included a role as art mistress at Oxenfoord in Midlothian from where many girls became long-term friends.

She worked at her cottage in the Borders at Carlops, but also accepted invitations to look at many new landscapes and garden subjects from Islay to Barra and Fife to Kinloch Rannoch.

Pip’s creations regularly featured at the Scottish Gallery, with five individual exhibitions stretching from 1956 to 1982.

She later showed regularly with the Open Eye and McAulay Galleries before her triumphant return to the national gallery for an exhibition to mark her 90th birthday in 2006.

The love for art led to new works being displayed even in her final years, with shows in 2008 and finally in 2011.

In one of her last interviews, Pip spoke about immersing herself in front of the subject to try to catch the experience of feeling and looking in her painting.

She had enjoyed the recent show organised by the National Galleries of Scotland, Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe, and felt a kindred spirit.

Pip worked in oil and water­colour, splitting herself between the two media and avoiding repetition.

She was a regular figure at painting classes and residencies with younger tutors and was a frequent traveller, with excursions to Lebanon, the Peloponnese and Spain.

One of the warmest personalities on the Edinburgh arts scene, Pip will be equally remembered as an often brilliant artist and an enduring figure. She passed away on May 31 at the age of 97.