Published: October 30, 2001
LONDON, ENGLAND – One of the most important private collections of Scottish art will open to the public in central London in January 2002. The Fleming Collection consists of works by many of Scotland’s most prominent artists, from 1800 to the present day, including works by early Nineteenth Century artists, the Scottish Colourists, the Glasgow Boys, the Edinburgh School and many contemporary Scottish names. The collection will be housed in a newly converted space, specially designed for the collection, in Berkeley Street, London W1.
The Fleming Collection has gained an international reputation with many works being exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. The collection was started in 1968 by bank director David Donald. The only guidelines he was given by the board were that, in view of Fleming’s Scottish origins (Robert Fleming was born in Dundee in 1845) works should either be by Scottish artists of or Scottish scenes by any artist.
The collection now numbers around 1,000 oils, watercolors, prints and drawings by around 350 artists. Selina Skipwith, keeper of the Fleming Collection says, “This is probably the finest private collection of Scottish art in the world. One of the main aims of the Fleming-Wyfold Foundation is to open the collection to a wider audience and to promote Scottish art. Our new gallery space in Berkeley Street will provide a great venue in central London and our schedule of exhibitions will show the diversity of the collection.”
The majority of works in the collection previously decorated the London and overseas offices of Flemings, the merchant bank. In April 2000, following the takeover of Flemings by Chase Manhattan Corporation, New York, the collection was sold to the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, a charitable foundation endowed by the Fleming Family, which will be supporting the London gallery.
Works from the early Nineteenth Century in the Fleming Collection include five small watercolor sketches by David Wilkie (1785-1841), an outstanding exponent of domestic and historical genre; a number of oils by William McTaggart (1835-1910) including “The Village, Whitehouse;” a portrait of “Dr Alexander Lindsay of Pinkieburn” by the leading portrait painter of the time, Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) and many fine watercolors and oils by other Victorian artists.
During the final two decades of the Nineteenth Century, Glasgow experienced a remarkable flowering in painting, which became the base for a group of young artists who later gained international renown as the Glasgow boys. The Fleming Collection owns a number of examples of leading artists of the Glasgow School including George Henry (1858-1943), John Lavery (1856-1941), Arthur Melville (1855-1904) and James Paterson (1854-1932).
After the Glasgow Boys came one of the most well-known groupings of Scottish artists, the Scottish Colourists, who flourished in the late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century. The Fleming Collection has over 30 works by the Colourists and is noted for several outstanding examples, including “The Feathered Hat” by F.C.B. Cadell (1883-1937), “Peonies in a Chinese Vase” by G.L. Hunter (1877-1931), “Jonquils and Silver” by J.D. Fergusson (1874-1961) and “Green Sea, Iona” by S.J. Peploe (1871-1935).
The collection also includes examples of the work of the Edinburgh Group, successors to the Colourists, particularly of Anne Redpath. The collection has oils and watercolors by Redpath, charting her entire career.
Modern and contemporary art is also well represented in the collection. Works by Eduardo Paolozzi (born 1924), Craigie Atichison (born 1926) and John Bellany (born 1942), sit alongside works by younger artists such as Ken Currie (born 1960), Peter Howson (born 1958) and Stephen Conroy (born 1964). The Collection continues to grow, with the main thrust currently directed towards buying the work of young Scottish artists.
Exhibitions will change quarterly and will explore different aspects of Scottish art. The inaugural exhibition of the Fleming Collection will focus on the Glasgow Boys.
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