Edinburgh: Modern 2

Modern Scottish Women catalogueIn 1885 Sir William Fettes Douglas, President of the Royal Scottish Academy, declared that the work of a woman artist was “like a man’s only weaker and poorer”. Despite this view, between then and 1965 an unprecedented number of Scottish women trained and worked as artists. An exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art paid tribute to 45 of them, none, I can assure you, weak or poor!

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition (which is now closed – we caught it right at the end) so you will have to make do with this detail from the catalogue. It shows a stunning portrait of Anne Finlay (herself an artist featured in the exhibition) by Dorothy Johnstone. It was good to learn about names like these which were new to me, as well as to see work by old favourites such as Anne Redpath and Joan Eardley.

You would not, of course, expect us to take on an art exhibition without a good lunch inside us. The café at the gallery is excellent – look at that counter laden with cake and scones! I seem to have neglected to photograph my main course, but rest assured it was delicious – and followed by cake. The tiling is in the Ladies Room – not something I would normally take a picture of, but this one is particularly striking and, possibly, disorienting.

However, if you can’t take pictures of the art inside, you certainly can outside. The exhibition was in Modern 2, which originated as the Dean Orphan Hospital in 1833. A beautiful building, and beautiful grounds with sculptures by Nathan Coley, Richard Long and others.

The sculpture below (and, stupidly, I didn’t note its title or the artist’s name) looked like either scissors or knitting needles depending on which way I approached it, and John has cropped one of his pictures to make a Saltire. (I think some lying on the grass might have been involved there too.)

On our way back to the station, our glance was caught by St Mary’s Cathedral (Scottish Episcopal) which we’ve walked past many times but never entered. An orchestra was rehearsing inside so, once again, no interior shots as we could only tiptoe round the edges.

The cathedral dates from 1879 and was built thanks to Barbara and Mary Walker who left their estate in trust for its endowment. The 17th century Old Coates House next door was their home.

We’ve given up, in recent years, visiting Edinburgh at festival time – it’s just too exhausting – but it’s lovely to be able to pop over for the odd day here and there. There’s always something new (to us) to discover.

31 thoughts on “Edinburgh: Modern 2

  1. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) June 29, 2016 / 16:17

    I do like that colourful toilet tiling, though I could see how it could be disorientating. I was going to say that I hope they don’t serve drinks there, but it looks like that might be a picture of beer next to it! I visited the famous Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa, New Zealand, which are also a riot of tiling, though perhaps not quite as nausea-inducing.


    • Anabel Marsh June 29, 2016 / 16:35

      It was beer! But only one so it didn’t increase the effect of the tiles. I like the colours, though they’re a bit if a shock at first and not sure I’d have paired them with black and white.


  2. Jackie June 29, 2016 / 13:30

    Been 6 years since we were there. Need another trip!


  3. Becky B June 29, 2016 / 08:02

    Yikes the Ladies is certainly striking. Now I wonder whether it was a male or female who designed that!
    Sounds like a wonderful exhibition, hope it reappears somewhere one day.


    • Anabel Marsh June 29, 2016 / 08:21

      I wouldn’t go in with a headache! I do hope the exhibition reappears somewhere – most of the art is publicly available, but scattered. The impact of seeing them all together was amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. RuthsArc June 28, 2016 / 12:24

    Interesting contrasts of modern and tradition, Anabel. And that Ladies Room is awesome 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh June 28, 2016 / 13:15

      Thanks, Ruth. I always forget what the Ladies decor is like and it comes as a fresh surprise each time! I’m assured the Gents is the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor June 28, 2016 / 09:57

    You guys always do manage to find a good spot for a meal or a snack 🙂 I love that ladies room – seems like something out of Alice in Wonderland.


    • Anabel Marsh June 28, 2016 / 11:39

      It certainly turns your senses inside out! And yes, we’re adept at sniffing out a good lunch.


  6. Birgit June 28, 2016 / 03:19

    There are many women artists that never get the same accolades as the male artists do so it’s nice to see the, represented here. That bathroom looks like a funhouse at some amusement park:) The cathedral looks so nice and love the neo gothic.


    • Anabel Marsh June 28, 2016 / 06:36

      I know, this exhibition certainly helped redress the balance a bit.


  7. restlessjo June 27, 2016 / 16:55

    I don’t know the arts building at all, Anabel, but it looks well worth a visit. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh June 27, 2016 / 16:58

      The whole area is very attractive (you’ll have probably seen it on Debbie’s blog too) and both branches, Modern 1 and Modern 2, are interesting. And both have good cafes!


  8. Liesbet June 27, 2016 / 16:37

    Sounds like a powerful and well-deserved exhibition! I think those needle things are hedge shears! 🙂 So nice to be able to find new things and places to explore in a familiar city. Diversity is key for an exciting life, lifestyle and visit.


  9. Pit June 27, 2016 / 15:04

    Thanks, Anabel, for showing me pictures of Edinburgh I didn’t see when I was there. 🙂 So, maybe the next time, as both my wife and I really would love to come back.
    Have a wonderful day,


    • Anabel Marsh June 27, 2016 / 15:16

      It would take a long time to get to the end of Edinburgh! Haste ye back, as we say in these parts.

      Liked by 1 person

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