How Women’s Art is Woven into the Fabric of the Nation: Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh

Sekai Machache and Dovecot Studios, 'Lively Blue', detail
Sekai Machache and Dovecot Studios, 'Lively Blue', detail

Title:
Scottish Women Artists: 250 Years of Challenging Perception

Times:
Mon - Sat 10:00 - 17:00

From: 28 Jul 2023

To: 6 Jan 2024

Venue:
Dovecot Studios
10 Infirmary Street
Edinburgh
Edinburgh & the Lothians
EH1 1LT

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An exhibition at Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios celebrates the work and contribution of women artists to Scottish art over the last 250 years, including new tapestry works by leading 21st-century artists.

Co-curated with The Fleming Collection, which holds one of the world’s finest private collections of Scottish art, the exhibition casts a wide net, charting key artistic movements and developments, with works by key art figures – some familiar, some less well-known.

Beatrice Huntington, 'A Cellist'. The Fleming Collection © The William Syson Foundation
Beatrice Huntington, ‘A Cellist’. The Fleming Collection © The William Syson Foundation

With women nowadays in leading roles in Scottish public life, this exhibition highlights the struggles that women artists have faced in this country’s last 250 years: from the 18th century, the first Scottish woman artist to be formally-trained (in Paris, as a Jacobite in exile), one successful society portrait painter who died in childbirth, and the many facing prejudice and marginalisation by critics on the irrelevant grounds of gender (Ruskin, for instance, held that women couldn’t paint).

Joan Eardley, 'July Fields', tapestry woven at Dovecot Strudios
Joan Eardley, ‘July Fields’, tapestry woven at Dovecot Studios

The show encompasses key artistic movements and developments, such as the emergence of The Glasgow Girls, and Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, who the first woman elected to both the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy. One highlight is the 20th-century artists represented, including Joan Eardley, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Anne Redpath – all widely recognised today as outstanding painters.

Victoria Crowe and Dovecot Studios, 'Richer Twilight, Venice'. Image Kenneth Gray
Victoria Crowe and Dovecot Studios, ‘Richer Twilight, Venice’. Image Kenneth Gray

Alongside these are ground-breaking textile artworks made in collaboration with Dovecot by 21st-century artists Christine Borland, Victoria Crowe, Rachel Maclean, Alison Watt and Alberta Whittle. These are the subject of a specially-commissioned film, on display.

Alberta Whittle weaving 'Entanglement is more than blood' at Dovecot Studios
Alberta Whittle weaving ‘Entanglement is more than blood’ at Dovecot Studios

The exhibition also display for the first time, a new Dovecot tapestry (pictured at top), produced with award-winning Glasgow-based artist Sekai Machache.

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