Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Scottish artists - The Scottish Colourists

Last night there were two programmes on BBC4 about Scottish artists

Iona Landscape: Rocks (1925-37)
by Samuel John Peploe

Oil on canvas, Size 40.90 x 46.00 cm
National Galleries of Scotland
  • Michael Palin - the man who highlighted the work of Vilhelm Hammershoi and triggered an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art - provided an overview of the lives and works of the Scottish Colourists. (For UK readers it's repeated on BBC4 on Saturday and I need to remember to try and have the record button working this time! It seems that you can't see it BBC iplayer and this might be to do with the fact that it's a documentary originally made in 2000.

Michael Palin explores the lives and paintings of four Scottish artists known as the Colourists: John Duncan Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter, Samuel John Peploe and Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell.

Their works hang in 10 Downing Street, but in their own lifetimes their vibrant vision shocked the critics.

  • Peter Capaldi then provided a rapid overview of prominent Scottish artists in A Portrait of Scotland (available to see again on BBC iplayer)
Peter Capaldi explores the story of Scotland's art. He had a talent for drawing and a love for art that took him to art school in Glasgow, but soon after graduating he became an actor.

Capaldi spends time with the paintings and the artists that have made Scottish art special. He sketches some of the most important Scottish portraits, and by focusing on the tradition of portraiture that goes back 500 years, Capaldi shows how Scotland's art has reflected the changing face of the nation.
This post and the one tomorrow (about the artists identified in the Capaldi programme) are going to be by way of a list. I've been intending to get round to researching the Scottish Colourists, the Glasgow Boys and various other artists for some time and these posts will be a handy aide memoire of links - and notes I made while watching the two programmes!

Hopefully some of you will also enjoy travelling through the art of Scotland courtesy of the hyperlinks.

The Scottish Colourists
Though the Colourists were entirely serious painters, their work is not complicated. It carries no hidden agenda. What you see is what you get.
Michael Palin
I've found some articles which seem to be asociated with when this documentary or a remarkably similar one which date back to 2000.
Scottish Colourists
Group of four Scottish artists, Cadell, Fergusson, Hunter, Peploe who were among the first to introduce the intense colour of the French Fauve movement into Britain
Tate Glossary - Scottish colourists
The four painters became known as the Scottish Colourists because they grafted their knowledge of contemporary French Art – Monet, Matisse, and Cezanne - onto the painterly traditions of Scotland, redefining the qualities of light and colour in their still life, landscapes, figurative paintings and drawings into their own singular styles.
Explore Art - Scottish Colourists
John Duncan Fergusson
George Leslie Hunter
Samuel John Peploe

I really like Peploe's work - he's the reason I first got interested in the Scottish Colourists
Francis "Bunty" Campbell Boileau Cadell
There's an exhibition The Scottish Colourists – Paintings from the Fleming Collection, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until November 1 2009. This article Diverse display of British trendsetters in Scottish Colourists at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester tells you about the Scottish Colourists and the exhibition.
Comprised of four artists, Samuel John Peploe, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, George Leslie Hunter and John Duncan Fergusson, the Scottish Colourists were among the most forward-thinking British artists of the twentieth century, combining a knowledge of contemporary French art with the painterly traditions of Scotland. Widely recognised as the finest collection of Scottish art in private hands, this is the first showing of The Fleming Collection in the South of England.
The exhibition continues until November 1st.

Making a Mark reviews......


  1. I like the Scottish colourists - and their legacy is still very strong in a lot of contemporary Scottish work.

    I also like some of William Gillies (dont think I've spelt that right - it's been a long day teaching!) the next generation down from them.

  2. I hadn't noticed these programmes and so was put out at missing them. However, I've done a little digging and the Peter Capaldi programme is being repeated Thursday night at 12.40 (really 0:40 Friday Morning. The Michael Palin programme is on again at 7:00 on Saturday evening

  3. Thanks for all of the wonderful extensive references to education oneself about this group. I have always loved the Fauves, post-impressionists and German Expressionists. This was a group new to me with whom to fall in love/revel in looking at. I am especially enjoying looking at the Cadell.


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