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Art & Industry | Illustrated Film Blog

23 January 2023

Art and Industry brings together artists past and present who have all found inspiration in the industrial landscape of northern Britain. The exhibition features artists who have been contemporary witness to the clamour and soot of heavy industry such as David McClure and Lachlan Goudie, but also imaginative works by David Cook and Michael McVeigh, inspired by the legacy of Scotland’s industrial past which is still embedded in the landscape and in the communities it once shaped. Please learn more in the blog below!

Lachlan Goudie (b.1976)

As a painter I’ve always been fascinated by shipbuilding. Growing up in Glasgow in the 1980’s, however, the River Clyde (which had once been the world’s pre-eminent shipbuilding centre) was a scene of industrial desolation. I was told about the glory days of ‘Clydebuilt’ naval technology, but could only dream about the great liners and warships, sketching them out on paper from my imagination.

Watch below a clip from the BBC’s Art of Industrial Britain with Lachlan Goudie making us look afresh at the Awesome Beauty of engineering past and present.

And find out more about the Lachlan’s work within our Art & Industry exhibition below…

David Cook (b.1957)

David Cook, whose family mined coal in Fife, draws inspiration from the legacy of Scotland’s industrial past which is still embedded in the landscape and in the communities it once shaped.

From Inverkeithing you look over to Lochgelly, a once thriving mining town. Coal ships brought coal into Seagreens, Milton and Johnshaven. The main sea-borne trade of Johnshaven was the importation of coal for domestic use from Sunderland and the Forth, also occasional cargoes of lime for agricultural use. This would be around 1760. So it is warming to think that once the coal my ancestors cut, was delivered
here to Seagreens.

This paper factory was flattened two years back, but used to stand in Inverkeithing, fascinating me since I was 17 years old. I would do scribbles on bits of paper as the train hurtled past. I often think of this spot and attempted to paint it.

David McClure RSA, RSW (1926-1998)

Returning from his Travelling Scholarship to France, Spain and Italy in 1953,   David McClure taught part-time as an instructor in the School of Drawing and Painting at the College in Edinburgh until 1955.  In the summer of 1954  he spent a period painting at Shell Petroleum’s refinery at Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast.  It produced a  fascinating and rather beautiful series of small oils, gouaches and sketches of this seemingly unpromising industrial subject with its large storage tanks, pipes, funnels, and rail tanker trucks. We know from the artist’s own “sales notebook” that the following year Shell acquired  2 works, an oil painting Panorama and a gouache Grey Chimney. Robin McClure 2019

Kate Downie RSA, PPRSA (1958)

On the surface, this is a painting of an intimate corner of a vast tidal estuary reaching close to the edge of mud flats, creeks, old boats and reeds. I remember painting this with passion and a sense of remembrance for a dear friend no longer here. Old boats half submerged and merely hinted at, are fleeting as a remembered view from a passing train. I am most pleased with the distant horizon, where a large white ship made tiny by distance, catches the morning sun far away in the middle of the estuary as it journeys forth.

L.S. Lowry RBA, RA (1887 - 1976)

Lowry is now recognised as Britain’s preeminent painter of the industrial city.  In the video below we share Tate curator Helen Little introducing the exhibition Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life (2013). Lowry exhibited with The Scottish Gallery in September 1944 and famously sought out the painter Anne Redpath (1895 – 1965) on his visit to Edinburgh. He later enjoyed a cup of tea in her elegant New Town flat.


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