Ten Years of Modern Masters

7 January 2023 - 28 January 2023

Ten Years of Modern Masters

Born: 1919
Place of Birth: Glasgow
Died: 1970

Bobby Blyth was a close friend of Gillies, who recruited him to the College staff after the War. They also worked together on the east coast of Scotland and their style at times became very similar, both favouring a pen and wash technique. Blyth was a brilliant draughtsman who made distinctive choices on the information he would include. Much of his work on paper has a relationship with English Neo-Romanticism, in particular Paul Nash, Graeme Sutherland and John Minton. Later, based in Aberdeen, his work became more ‘colour-field’ with the drawing becoming less important.

Born: 1930
Place of Birth: Aberdeen
Died: 2003

Donald Buyers was born in 1930 in Aberdeen where he attended the Grammar School and then Gray’s School of Art after which he assisted his tutor Robert Sivell in the murals at the University Union in Schoolhill. His was a quiet life, well lived, throughout which family and painting were his twin loves. A honeymoon in Paris turned into an extended stay and the School of Paris was always present in his work. Back in Aberdeen he began to teach in schools: Robert Gordon’s and eventually as a visiting lecturer at Gray’s, but he never stopped working and exhibiting.

Born: 1945

Victoria Crowe studied at Kingston School of Art from 1961-65 and at the Royal College of Art, London, from 1965-68. At her postgraduate show, she was invited by Sir Robin Philipson to teach at Edinburgh College of Art. For thirty years she worked as a part-time lecturer in the School of Drawing and Painting while developing her own artistic practice. She lives and works in West Linton, Edinburgh, and Venice. Her first one-person exhibition, after leaving the Royal College of Art, was in London and she has subsequently gone on to have over fifty solo shows.

Victoria Crowe’s first solo exhibition at The Scottish Gallery was in 1970. In August 2018, we held a major exhibition of paintings at The Scottish Gallery. This coincided with The Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s retrospective of Victoria Crowe’s portraits. In 2019 The City Art Centre held a retrospective entitled 50 Years of Painting. This exhibition embraced every aspect of Crowe’s practice and featured over 150 pieces.

Victoria Crowe is a member of the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) and the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours (RSW). She has exhibited nationally and internationally and undertaken many important portrait commissions, including RD Laing, Peter Higgs and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She has received many bursaries and research awards and her work is held in numerous public and private collections worldwide.

In 2000, her exhibition A Shepherd’s Life, consisting of work selected from the 1970s and 80s, was one of the National Galleries of Scotland’s Millennium exhibitions. It received great critical acclaim. The exhibition toured Scotland and was re-gathered in 2009 for a three-month exhibition at the Fleming Collection, London. Victoria was awarded an OBE for Services to Art in 2004 and from 2004-2007, she was appointed Senior Visiting Scholar at St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge. The resulting work, Plant Memory, was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2007 and subsequently toured Scotland. In 2009 she received an Honorary Degree from The University of Aberdeen and in 2010 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

In 2013, Dovecot Studios wove a large-scale tapestry of Victoria’s painting Large Tree Group. This collaborative tapestry was acquired for the National Museums Scotland. In 2015, Victoria was an invited artist at Dumfries House and in 2016 a group of work by the artist was acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland. Victoria was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers’ in 2014, to design a forty-metre tapestry for their new hall in the city of London, which took over three years to weave and was installed in January 2017. Dovecote worked with Victoria Crowe to produce a new tapestry inspired by a detail from her painting Twilight, Venice, 2014. The new tapestry, Richer Twilight, Venice was completed and unveiled at the end of September 2019.

To view Victoria Crowe’s prints please click here

Born: 1934
Place of Birth: Glasgow
Died: 2002

Pat Douthwaite was born in Glasgow in 1934. She studied mime and modern dance with Margaret Morris, whose husband, J. D. Fergusson, encouraged her to paint. This important influence apart, she was self-taught. In 1958 Pat lived in Suffolk with a group of painters, including the Scots Colquhoun and MacBryde, and William Crozier. From 1959-1988 she travelled widely, to N. Africa, India, Peru, Venezuela, Europe, U.S.A., Kashmir, Nepal, Pakistan, Ecuador and from 1969 lived part of the time in Majorca, and more recently in various properties across the Scottish Borders. She died in July 2002 in Broughty Ferry.

Gallery Director Guy Peploe knew the artist well and is the recognised expert on her work. He published a monograph on the artist in 2016.

Photography by Alicia Bruce
Born: 1958
Place of Birth: North Carolina, USA

Kate Downie was born in North Carolina but raised from the age of 7 in Scotland. She studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen before travel and residencies took her to the United States, England, Amsterdam, Paris and Japan. Her constant search for new challenges and inspirations has seen her set up studios in such diverse places as a brewery, an oil rig, and an abandoned Hydroponicum.

As a Landscape painter her subject matter is often the man-made rather than the natural, but it is defined by good draughtsmanship and a sense of movement.

‘One of my creative concerns is to define these spaces between buildings rather than the buildings themselves. The object lesson for me is the witnessing and the drawing of these nonplaces which are also, by definition, public arenas of cumulative activity. My job as an artist is to accommodate these actions in our contemporary lives, and to find the poetry within.’
– Kate Downie

Please click here to view prints by the artist

Born: 1835
Died: 1910

One of Scotland’s most famous landscape painters, William McTaggart’s paintings are typified by loose, energetic brushwork and a deep concern for the effects of light. The Scottish Gallery was McTaggart’s main dealer in his lifetime, selling many of his greatest works to the likes of Robert Wemyss Honeyman and Andrew Carnegie.

Born: 1903
Place of Birth: Loanhead
Died: 1981

Born at Loanhead in 1903, Sir William MacTaggart is one of the best-loved and yet least well-understood of Scottish artists. MacTaggart, grandson of the great landscape painter, took his Diploma at the same time as William Gillies and Geissler and followed the same route to Paris. Back in Edinburgh he was a founder member of the 1922 Group (of younger painters), in 1927 he joined the Society of Eight whose members included Colourists Cadell and Peploe and began a consistently successful exhibition career starting at The Scottish Gallery in 1929. A sumptuous painter in oils, he was a prolific draughtsman and preferred pastel to watercolour; instinctively an expressionist and romantic painter his outlook shifted dramatically after the Munch exhibition at the SSA in 1931 (eventually marrying the Norwegian curator Fanny Aavatsmark) and again after studying Roualt in Paris in the early sixties. From his home and studio in Edinburgh’s Drummond Place, some of his best-known works offer a still life, framed by a window, looking east towards Bellvue Church.

Born: 1932
Place of Birth: Glasgow
Died: 2020

James Morrison sadly passed away in 2020. He was a great painter and a huge part of The Scottish Gallery for more than sixty years, the last thirty under an exclusive arrangement. His kindness, generosity and loyalty made him a hugely rewarding friend, and it has been a privilege to represent one of Scotland’s most distinctive and brilliant painters.

Born in Glasgow in 1932, Morrison studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1950-4. After a brief spell in Catterline in the early 1960s, Morrison settled in Montrose in 1965, joining the staff of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee the same year. He resigned from Duncan of Jordanstone in 1987 to paint full-time and since then his work has been exclusively available through The Scottish Gallery. Whole-heartedly a landscape painter, his main working areas are the lush, highly-managed farmland around his home in Angus and the rugged wildness of west coast Assynt. As well as Scotland, Morrison has had extended painting trips to Africa, France, and Canada, including three trips to the Arctic in the 1990s. A suite of his Arctic paintings were recently acquired and exhibited as part of a major exhibition, Among the Polar Ice at The McManus in Dundee (September 2019 – March 2020).

James Morrison first exhibited with The Gallery in the fifties. In June 2022, The Scottish Gallery celebrated the life and work of one of Scotland’s most-loved artists in a major retrospective show James Morrison A Celebration 1932 – 2020. The exhibition, held two years after his death, presented work from the entirety of his artistic career which spanned seven decades. A new exhibition Under a Northern Sky opens in The Gallery in April 2024. This show will contain a remarkable collection of Morrison’s Scottish subjects, many drawn from private collections.

Born: 1938
Place of Birth: Kirkcaldy
Died: 1998

Born in Kirkcaldy in 1938, Lil Neilson studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art from 1956– 60 where she was taught by Hugh Crawford and Alberto Morrocco. She was awarded a travelling scholarship to France and Italy in 1961–62 and on her return she joined Joan Eardley in Catterline: they had become friends in 1960 at Hospitalfield House and Eardley invited Lil to paint in the studio she and Annette Stephen shared in Catterline. Lil Neilson bought a cottage at No. 2 Southside after Joan Eardley died in August 1963. Her work is texturally rich, low in tone and always true to the place. She liked to work on rough boards or wooden fragments found on the beach. Neilson’s best work is arguably of the salmon nets, cottages and stormy coast which result in part from her inspirational friendship with Joan Eardley but also from the deep connection she had with Catterline and the North East.

Born: 1916
Place of Birth: Broughton-in-Furness
Died: 1992

Sir Robin Philipson had a significant, influential presence on the Scottish Art Scene throughout his lifetime. He served as Head of School of Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art where he diligently maintained the ideals of the post-war Edinburgh School. And, for a whole decade he was President of the Royal Scottish Academy – a period seen as a Golden Age in Scottish Painting. First and foremost, however, he was a practicing painter.

In 1961 Tom Elder Dickinson described Robin Philipson as ‘…original without being pretentious, forceful without being crass, advanced without being outré. . . At his best he is a supreme painter possessed by a mood of peculiar sensitiveness. I can think of no artist today whose understanding and feeling for the qualities of paint are so perfectly matched to his lyrical purpose; he takes the paint into his very imagination and makes it speak with (an) eloquence and fervour.’

Philipson was enormously important to The Scottish Gallery where we held nine exhibitions in his lifetime. He was doubtless the most high-profile Scottish artist of his generation earning countless honours including a knighthood in 1976.


Born: 1883
Died: 1937

Cadell was twelve years younger than S.J. Peploe but just as precocious and was producing very capable watercolours and drawings in his early teens. Half French, he was taken to France and Munich by his mother for artistic education and some very fine, freely painted farmyard paintings date from this early period. Despite his sophistication, Cadell’s most natural habitat was the west Highlands, Iona in particular, and he made only a few painting trips to France after the War. He produced some of his most brilliant Colourist works while staying with the Peploes in Cassis in 1924. Very fashion conscious, his work before 1914 had an Edwardian opulence and breadth unique in Scottish painting. By the twenties his work had a hard edge with clear colour, chiming with the jazz-age, and the compositions have a deco stylishness full of sophistication of concept and originality of palette. He is as original and distinctive a voice as any in Scottish painting.

We have more available works by Cadell. Please contact the Gallery if you would like to arrange an appointment to view the works we currently have available for sale. Furthermore, should you have any work you would be interested in selling please do contact the Gallery on 0131 558 1200 or email Guy Peploe.

Born: 1874
Place of Birth: Leith, Edinburgh
Died: 1961

2024 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of Scotland’s greatest artists, John Duncan Fergusson. He was an exceptionally gifted man with an uncompromising vision of what it meant to be an artist: emotional truth was paramount. Free from the constraints of academic tradition or the conventions of bourgeois life, he was a man for whom his work was his manifesto and wide intellectual engagement was the basis for his art.

Born in Leith, Fergusson’s studies took him to Paris in the 1890s where he studied the Impressionists and attended the Académie Colarossi. He exhibited in London in 1905 and settled in Paris in 1907 working in a Fauvist style then later in a more Cubist manner. He had four works exhibited in Post-Impressionist and Futurist Exhibition in London in 1913. His first solo show in Scotland was in 1923 and was followed by an exhibition with the three other Scottish Colourists, Peploe, Cadell and Hunter. The Colourists were very important in furthering the influence of certain aspects of continental Modernism on Scottish Painting.

We have more available works by J.D. Fergusson. Please contact the Gallery if you would like to arrange an appointment to view. Furthermore, should you have any work you would be interested in selling please contact The Gallery.


Born: 1871
Place of Birth: Edinburgh
Died: 1935

Born in 1871, he is the senior of the four artists now known as The Scottish Colourists. S.J. Peploe had his first exhibition at The Scottish Gallery in 1903 and a life long association with us until his untimely death in 1935. He lived in Paris from 1910 until 1912, where his work changed radically from paintings reminiscent of Manet and Sargent to brilliant Fauvist works which placed him in the vanguard of British Modernism. By the time of his early death aged sixty-four in 1935, he was recognised as a great painter but only by a small coterie of collectors and curators, like Ion Harrison and Stanley Cursiter and it has taken a further fifty years for his national and international significance to be fully appreciated.

We have more available works by S.J. Peploe. Please contact the Gallery if you would like to arrange an appointment to view the works we currently have available for sale.

Furthermore, should you have any work you would be interested in selling please do contact the gallery on 0131 558 1200.

Guy Peploe is the world’s leading authority on the work of S.J. Peploe.


Born: 1937
Place of Birth: Airdrie

Duncan Shanks was born in Airdrie in 1937 and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1955 to 1960. During his Post Diploma year he was awarded a travelling scholarship which enabled a visit to Italy. On his return to Glasgow he joined the Art School staff where he lectured until 1979, before leaving to concentrate on painting full-time. Duncan’s first solo exhibition was hosted by Stirling University in 1974. Since then he has exhibited worldwide with notable public exhibitions including Falling Water at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh in 1988, Patterns of Flight at Wrexham Art Centre in 1991 and Poetry of Place at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, which coincided with the bequest of the entirety of his sketchbooks to their collection in 2013. Shanks is a member of the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Glasgow Institute and Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour. He has been the subject of twelve solo exhibitions at The Scottish Gallery; his most recent, The Riverbank, was the Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition for 2022.

Born: 1955
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Based in her Edinburgh studio, Linda Green is an established textile artist who has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her work is unique and diverse, exploring and developing creative ideas through a range of textile materials and influences. Her interest in order and random processes are explored within her art practice. By taking inspiration from things as diverse as plant life, geometry and the Cosmos, she has covered a wealth of creative territory in her working life.

After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art with a Diploma in Tapestry, Linda completed her student career with a Post Graduate MA in Textiles at the Royal College of Art in London. Since then she has taught at a number of art schools in Scotland including Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art.A recent recipient of awards from Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers and Creative Scotland have taken her work on a new creative journey. Linda has also worked with Richard Murphy Architects as colour consultant collaborating on several projects where her innovative fusion of colour and surface contribute to the ambient space.

Born: 1942
Place of Birth: Hamburg

To this artist, a leaf is not just a leaf or an apple: to her, they are passionately specific, particular, and forever part of the time, day, and place with which she associates them, the emotions with which she invests them, they are entries in her diary.  Christopher Andreae, 1993

Sylvia von Hartmann has lived in Scotland for decades, originally based in the Scottish Borders, she now lives and works in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. She is an artist known for her works on paper in water-based media and wax crayon and also specialises in printmaking. Her imagery is highly personal, a psychological iconography which must remain obscured; her forms, motifs, script, flora and architecture are revealed in a folk tale with no beginning or end. Revealed as they float past on a liquid surface, or retreat, detail rubbed back like the surface of an ancient sampler. Sylvia von Hartmann was born in Hamburg, Germany; she studied at the Werkkunstschule, before attending Edinburgh College of Art (1963–66).

To this artist, a leaf is not just a leaf or an apple: to her, they are passionately specific, particular, and forever part of the time, day, and place with which she associates them, the emotions with which she invests them, they are entries in her diary. Some diaries have been written in code for intimacy’s sake. Sylvia von Hartmann’s method of composing her pictures is itself a kind of code to preserve secrets, to protect, to only partly reveal. The way she makes her pictures is not some coolly contrived technique. It is integral to the character of her work. She uses gouache – opaque watercolour – and over it she works with pigmented wax. This wax, of German manufacture, is today made especially for her. She then draws through the wax surfaces and veilings with a razor blade and an old steel gramophone. She is therefore on the one hand covering over, and on the other, disclosing, taking away surface, and working down from one image to another, as she chooses. In this way, a final picture can contain completely invisible or only partly visible earlier states, all of which, she feels, are necessary in the passage of the picture’s making, but known only to her memory of them. Extract from Leaves in a Metaphoric Garden by Christopher Andreae, 1993

Public collections include: Scottish Arts Council; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; City Art Centre, Edinburgh; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums.

Born: 1905
Place of Birth: Lida
Died: 1995

Zyw was born in Lida, Poland before moving to Warsaw at an early age. He enrolled in Warsaw School of Fine Art in 1926. A travel bursary in 1934 was to have a great effect on the young Pole, not only did it give him a taste for life outside of Poland, but it started a love affair with the Mediterranean which was to last a lifetime.

He found himself in Corsica when the War broke out, and travelled back to his home in Paris to enlist. After the French Army’s collapse Zyw escaped to Scotland to where the Polish Armed Forces were regrouping. After another spell on the front line as official war artist he settled in Dean Village in Edinburgh, before moving permanently to Italy in the 1970s. During his time in Edinburgh, he has a profound impact on the city with a number of notable exhibitions, including three with The Scottish Gallery, and later retrospectives organised by the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. He continued to paint up to his death at his olive farm in Castagneto Carducci in Tuscany, Italy.

He had his first one-man show at The Scottish Gallery in 1945. His most recent exhibition was held in November 2020 titled Before & After.

Born: 1910
Died: 2005

Humphrey Spender was a British artist, designer, and photographer. Spender had initially studied architecture in London but in 1933, he set up a photographic studio. After two years working at the Daily Mirror under the name Lensman, he photographed in Bolton for the Mass Observation movement (an independent body aiming to record the reality of daily life in Britain). In 1938 he joined the newly founded, illustrated magazine Picture Post, where he took similar documentary photographs. Following a brief period of conscription in 1941, he spent the rest of the war as an official photographer and interpreter of photo-reconnaissance pictures. His work is held in numerous public collections including the National Galleries of Scotland, National Portrait Gallery, London and the Imperial War Museum, London. After the War, Spender shifted away from photography towards art and design and went on to become a successful textile designer and painter as well as becoming a tutor at the Royal College of Art (1953–1975).

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