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Incoming: New Acquisitions is a temporary exhibition at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh. It presents a selection of historic and contemporary artworks, all acquired within the last ten years for the City Art Centre’s collection of Scottish art. The exhibition features work in a variety of media by artists including Kate Downie, Rachel Maclean, David Eustace, Carol Rhodes, Edwin G. Lucas and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. This Curation shares some of the highlights.

15 artworks
  • Introduction

    The City Art Centre’s collection contains over 5,000 artworks, which trace the history of Scottish art from the 17th century to present day. The collection continues to grow every year through purchases, donations and bequests. All purchases are made using the Jean F. Watson Bequest Fund, a fund established in the 1960s by Edinburgh resident Jean F. Watson. The collection is further enhanced by regular donations and bequests of artworks, offered by artists, their estates, arts organisations and members of the public. More than 200 artworks have been added to the collection since 2012, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures. Ever-evolving, the collection offers a rich cultural resource for future generations.


  • Conversations Part I

    Although the artist Kate Downie has travelled extensively throughout her career, the Scottish landscape remains a central theme in her art. Working across the disciplines of painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and installation, she is concerned with exploring the intersections between urban and rural environments, the presence of built structures and human activity within the natural world.


    Conversations Part I comes from a series inspired by civil engineering in 21st-century Scotland. It portrays a group of telecommunications masts sited near the town of South Queensferry, west of Edinburgh. Downie donated this large-scale drawing to the City Art Centre in 2019.

    Conversations Part I 2005
    Kate Downie (b.1958)
    Charcoal & pastel on paper
    H 128 x W 97 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Conversations Part I
    © the artist. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Twenty Sixteen

    Ade Adesina was born in Nigeria and is currently based in Aberdeen. Between 2008 and 2012 he trained at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, where he specialised in printmaking.


    Adesina typically works on a monumental scale, producing meticulously detailed large-format woodcuts, linocuts and etchings. His subject-matter is drawn from a range of sources including his African heritage, British culture and landscapes encountered while travelling. These memories and experiences are combined with imaginary episodes, resulting in fantastical dream-like vistas.


    The City Art Centre purchased three woodcut prints by Adesina, including Twenty Sixteen, in early 2020.

    Twenty Sixteen 2016
    Ade Adesina (b.1980)
    Woodcut on paper
    H 92 x W 61 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Twenty Sixteen
    © the artist. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Seated Figure

    Anthony Hatwell served as Head of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art between 1969 and 1990. Despite his role as an influential teacher, he kept his own artistic practice relatively private. His first, and only, solo exhibition took place at the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery in 2013, when the artist was aged 82. He passed away later that year.


    In 2017 Hatwell’s estate presented seven of his artworks to the City Art Centre. The group of three sculptures and four works on paper was carefully selected to reflect the development of his career and his experimentation with different media. Seated Figure, which dates from 1959, was the earliest work to be donated.

    Seated Figure 1959
    Anthony Hatwell (1931–2013)
    Bronze
    H 15.5 x W 9.5 x D 7 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Seated Figure
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • The Sou'Westers, Arbroath

    Morris Grassie was brought up in the Scottish coastal town of Arbroath. As a boy he visited nearby Hospitalfield House, a summer residence for postgraduate art students, where he received drawing lessons from the Warden, James Cowie. Grassie subsequently undertook formal artistic training in Dundee, and returned to Hospitalfield twice as a postgraduate in the early 1950s.


    The Sou’Westers, Arbroath is part of an ambitious triptych by Grassie, which documents daily life around Arbroath harbour. The triptych was split up not long after its completion. One panel is now owned by Glasgow Museums, while another is in a private collection. This third panel was acquired by the City Art Centre in 2016.

    The Sou'Westers, Arbroath c.1957
    Morris Grassie (b.1931)
    Oil on gesso board
    H 76.2 x W 101.6 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    The Sou'Westers, Arbroath
    © the artist. Photo credit: Antonia Reeve / City of Edinburgh Council

  • Fugue (17/11)

    James Lumsden’s abstract paintings are primarily concerned with perception and the experience of viewing; creating the illusion of light, movement and depth through the layered application of pigments. His process involves building up an image with numerous thin glazes of acrylic paint and gloss medium. Each layer is manipulated across the picture surface using various implements, a technique that entails both careful deliberation and a degree of random chance.


    In 2019 Lumsden participated in Beneath the Surface, an exhibition at the City Art Centre showcasing nine contemporary Scottish artists working in the field of minimalism. Fugue (17/11) was bought for the fine art collection the following year.

    Fugue (17/11) 2011
    James Lumsden (b.1964)
    Acrylic on canvas
    H 30.5 x W 30.5 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Fugue (17/11)
    © the artist. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Student Union, Teviot Row House, University of Edinburgh

    This evocative image shows the interior of the student union at Teviot Row House, part of the University of Edinburgh. Robert Blomfield studied medicine at the university during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He had discovered photography as a teenager, and continued to pursue his interest while training as a junior doctor.


    Blomfield took hundreds of photographs documenting everyday life in Edinburgh. Although he considered a career in photography, he feared that working to specified briefs would reduce his enjoyment of it. Instead, he remained within the medical profession, taking pictures for his own pleasure. It was not until later life that his photographs were finally shown in public.

    Student Union, Teviot Row House, University of Edinburgh 1964
    Robert Blomfield (1938–2020)
    Black & white photographic print
    H 31 x W 47 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Student Union, Teviot Row House, University of Edinburgh
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: courtesy of City of Edinburgh Council

  • Roads, Buildings (Night)

    With their steep aerial perspectives and lack of inhabitants, Carol Rhodes’ landscapes are highly distinctive. The artist began producing these types of works in about 1994, using photographic images from books and magazines as source material, along with scenes from her own imagination. The resulting views are composite, fictional accounts of towns and suburban districts. They are believable topographies, yet somehow unsettling.


    Rhodes worked mostly in oils, painting in a slow, methodical manner. In 2013 she was awarded a travelling scholarship and residency by Edinburgh Printmakers and the British Council to expand her practice into printmaking. Roads, Buildings (Night) was the principal outcome of the residency.

    Roads, Buildings (Night) 2014
    Carol Rhodes (1959–2018)
    Screenprint on paper
    H 55.5 x W 57.5 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Roads, Buildings (Night)
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Dotonbori

    In early 2020 the City Art Centre purchased a group of 29 prints by 16 contemporary artists, all of whom had spent time working at Edinburgh Printmakers. The acquisition was intended to highlight the key role that this organisation had played over the years in championing printmaking in Scotland.


    Two screenprints by Graeme Todd were included within the acquisition. This one, titled Dotonbori, is named after a popular entertainment district in the Japanese city of Osaka. In 2004 Todd spent three months living and working there, participating in a residency programme at the Osaka Contemporary Art Centre. The experience prompted a series of paintings and prints, which fuse representational imagery with abstract forms.

    Dotonbori 2005
    Graeme Todd (1962–2022)
    Screenprint on paper
    H 70 x W 90 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Dotonbori
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Grassmarket, Edinburgh

    This miniature watercolour is the work of Robert Batty, a 19th-century army officer and talented amateur artist. Lieutenant Colonel Batty served at Waterloo in 1815, where he was wounded, and concluded his military career by writing an illustrated account of the battle. With the end of hostilities, he dedicated increasing amounts of time to artistic pursuits.


    Between 1822 and 1833 Batty travelled extensively in Europe, painting landscapes in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Spain. He often worked on a small scale, creating picturesque postcard-style images of the places he visited. Here, he presents a view of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

    Grassmarket, Edinburgh 1820–1848
    Robert Batty (1789–1848)
    Watercolour & pencil on paper
    H 6.3 x W 9.5 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Grassmarket, Edinburgh
    Photo credit: Antonia Reeve / City of Edinburgh Council

  • Firth of Forth Series

    Although Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was born in Scotland, she is best-known for her association with the St Ives School. She moved to Cornwall in 1940, a few years after finishing her studies at Edinburgh College of Art, and found the close-knit artists’ community a fertile environment for creative experimentation.


    This painting dates from late in Barns-Graham’s career, and is based on the experience of crossing the Forth Rail Bridge. The intersecting orange-red forms evoke the iconic structure of the bridge.


    The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust presented Firth of Forth Series to the City Art Centre in 2014. It was one of a series of gifts made by the Trust to strengthen the artist’s representation in UK public collections.

    Firth of Forth Series 1996–1997
    Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912–2004)
    Acrylic on canvas
    H 122 x W 152 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Firth of Forth Series
    © Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Fisherman

    The Scottish sculptor Thomas Good was an influential figure in the early 20th century, though his name is little known today. A specialist in figurative woodcarving, he also worked in bronze and stone. He exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy and received many prestigious commissions, including work on the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, created between 1923 and 1927.


    Good’s work is rarely found in public museum collections. This early portrait bust provides a strong indication of his talents. The model for the piece is thought to be a local Edinburgh man, who sat for the artist on various occasions. Fisherman was donated to the City Art Centre by the artist’s great-grandson in 2018.

    Fisherman c.1911
    Thomas Good (c.1890–1958)
    Plaster painted black
    H 74 x W 54 x D 35 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Fisherman
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: Greg Macvean / City of Edinburgh Council

  • Kiyembe Lane

    Based in Glasgow, Bronwen Sleigh is inspired by industrial architecture and urban spaces. This hand-coloured etching relates to a building in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. On a visit to the city, Sleigh was impressed by the abundance of concrete modernist architecture, much of which had been erected following the country’s move to independence in the early 1960s. She took a large number of photographs, which led to a series of paintings, prints and three-dimensional constructions.


    Kiyembe Lane was bought for the City Art Centre’s collection after it was included in the group exhibition A Fine Line in 2017-2018.

    Kiyembe Lane 2017
    Bronwen Sleigh (b.1980)
    Hand-coloured etching
    H 76 x W 76 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Kiyembe Lane
    © the artist. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • The Schism – Final Diagnosis

    Edwin Lucas spent his professional life in the civil service, having been dissuaded at a young age from pursuing an artistic career. He did, however, continue to paint in his spare time, creating a significant body of work that blends modernist influences with his own richly imaginative style.


    Between 1939 and 1941 Lucas experimented freely with Surrealism, executing colourful, immersive paintings and otherworldly drawings. His imagery, while ambiguous in its symbolism, seems to reference dreams and psychoanalytical theories.


    The City Art Centre purchased The Schism – Final Diagnosis from the artist’s family in 2019. This acquisition followed the staging of the major retrospective exhibition Edwin G. Lucas: An Individual Eye.

    The Schism – Final Diagnosis 1940
    Edwin George Lucas (1911–1990)
    Oil on canvas
    H 103 x W 83 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    The Schism – Final Diagnosis
    © estate of Edwin George Lucas. Photo credit: John McKenzie, courtesy of Museums & Galleries Edinburgh

  • Caithness Shore

    In 2018 the curator and gallerist Joan Hughson donated a group of eleven artworks to the City Art Centre, including this coloured etching by Philip Reeves.


    Reeves trained at Cheltenham School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London during the post-war years. He was appointed to teach at Glasgow School of Art in 1954, and proceeded to become Head of Printmaking, a post that he held from 1970 until 1991.


    Reeves was interested in responding to the landscape through abstraction. In this work, his forms relate to the cliffs and stacks found on the Caithness coastline. The sculptural character of the location is further suggested by the use of an irregularly-shaped etching plate, which gives the composition its unusual outline.

    Caithness Shore c.1965–1969
    Philip Reeves (1931–2017)
    Coloured etching on paper
    H 57 x W 81 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Caithness Shore
    © the artist's estate. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

  • Waiting for Ransom to Turn

    Flannery O’kafka is a Glasgow-based photographer, whose work revolves around the themes of motherhood, religion, comedy and suffering. The concept of family is central to her practice, and she frequently draws inspiration from her own personal history and family narrative.


    Seemingly random subjects often appear as metaphors for the artist’s emotional experiences and memories, linked by associations of place and time. In this image, O’kafka perceived a symbolic connection between the movement of the diver turning in mid-air and the experience of waiting for the birth of her first grandchild. The photograph was purchased for the fine art collection in 2019.

    Waiting for Ransom to Turn 2017
    Flannery O'Kafka (b.1976)
    Colour photographic print
    H 80 x W 50 cm
    Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council
    Waiting for Ransom to Turn
    © the artist. Photo credit: Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council