A MAJOR exhibition of the work of several important Scottish women artists is coming to The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh at the end of this month.

Some famous names and some once-renowned artists waiting to be rediscovered will feature in Modern Masters Women at The Scottish Gallery, in Edinburgh, from July 30 to August 29.

It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in Scottish art and the part women have played in its history.

Please check with the gallery before you visit to find out about their precautions to ensure your safety, which the management is taking very seriously amid the continued threat of coronavirus.


THE exhibition includes works by Anne Redpath (1895-1965), Lily Cottrell (1896-1984), Winifred McKenzie (1905-2001), Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004), Joan Eardley (1921-1963), Bet Low (1924-2007), Barbara Balmer (1929-2017), Mardi Barrie (1930-2004), Pat Douthwaite (1934-2002), Sylvia Wishart (1936-2008) and Lil Neilson (1938-1998).

Also included is the work of living artists Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, Victoria Crowe, Kate Downie, Claire Harkess, Angie Lewin, Hannah Mooney, Emily Sutton and Dr Frances Walker.

The most famous of the featured artists are Redpath, the first woman painter in the Royal Scottish Academy; Blackadder, the first woman to be elected to both the Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Academy; and Eardley, an artist of established international reputation.

In addition, the gallery has included work by women who had successful exhibiting careers – such as Barrie, Balmer and Low – and who are ripe for rediscovery.


YOU will note that all the women practised their art in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Christina Jansen of The Scottish Gallery explains: “It is impossible today to deny the huge contribution that women artists have made to the Scottish cultural realm, but this is relatively recent history.

Before 1900, it is a struggle to find the talented women artists, who certainly lived, but whose contribution was curtailed by Victorian society and the dominance of male-led institutions.

“The traditional territory for female creativity was largely in applied art and crafts and limited to the amateur realm but with the emergence of the arts and crafts movement and the art nouveau style at the end of the 19th century, artists such as Phoebe Anna Traquair and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh can be seen as pioneering examples of fulfilled, successful, professional women artists.

“Today, the highest price ever paid for a historic Scottish painting at auction remains Margaret Macdonald’s Glasgow School panel for £1.5 million in 2008.”


THE Scottish Gallery is celebrating 125 years of exhibiting women artists. It long ago recognised the commercial potential of emerging talent coming out of the Scottish Art schools, regardless of the artist’s sex.

Over the last hundred years, the exhibition history at The Scottish Gallery has included all major female Scottish artists and many who made contributions in an era when sexism was routine. The art world was no exception to this gender bias and, often, women were regarded as models, mistresses and muses rather than candidates for the academy.

Jansen commented on the exhibition: “The great strength is in the contemporary section we have exceptional living artists of originality and genius whose contribution to the arts is unquestionable. Artists who

have reaped the benefits of an open art world which has lost its prejudice, the barriers removed which had previously barred advancement to talented women artists.”


JANSEN continued: “The Scottish Gallery’s positivity can be explained, in part, by a commercial pragmatism: for the collector, the gender of the artist is of little concern, the initial reaction to a work of art devoid of the prejudice that led many women writers in the previous century to adopt male noms-de-plume.

“In the twenties the art colleges were full of aspirant, creative young women understanding the new societal contract after WWI which allowed much more equality – not only in the ballot box. These were heady days, not as yet undermined by the political correctness which today undervalues individual talent in favour of identity politics: if you were good enough The Scottish Gallery would offer you a one-woman show, not because it needed to fulfil a quota.

“Artists like Anne Redpath and then Joan Eardley earned their senior positions in Scotland’s artists’ firmament by right and the next generation supped at the top table with their male peers without novelty or a sense of gratitude.

“When Victoria Crowe first showed with The Scottish Gallery in 1970 it was the appraisal of her commercial potential along with her originality as a painter which made the exhibition so satisfying.

“Modern Masters Women strives to emphasise the individual commercial potential of each artist, making no apology in taking an exclusive curatorial position.”


ESTABLISHED in South St David Street, Edinburgh, by Aitken Dott in 1842 as Gilders, Framers, and Artists’ Colourmen a new dedicated gallery space was opened in 1897 as The Scottish Gallery.

The gallery has been situated on Dundas Street since 1992.