William Scott Textiles at the Whitworth


Having just explored the Whitworth’s excellent exhibition of textile works, it was interesting to see William Scott’s textiles Skara Brae and Skaill included in the  Abstract Landscape exhibition showing in one of the galleries on the first floor.

‘Skaill’, a tapestry made by Edinburgh Weavers from a design by Scott that was painted to scale with gouache and wax resist. The resulting work is a subtle mass of broken textured forms that hint at rock and edgelands. The work corresponds with its neighbour, ‘Skara Brae’, a length of screenprinted cotton also designed by Scott. This piece, printed in the colours of rock and lichen, speaks clearly of the sunken, stone-lined features of the ancient dwellings of Skara Brae in Orkney. It is an abstraction only until the viewer recognises the source of inspiration. (Spectator)

The Crawford Gallery Cork


The Crawford Gallery is Cork’s public art Gallery. The main part of the building, built in 1724, was originally the Cork Customs House. Emmet Place, where it’s located, today is a wide street but used to be a harbour off the north channel of the River Lee. The gallery was extended in  2000, substantially increasing the exhibition space.

I visited it twice during my short stay in Cork – in the daytime and then during Thursday evening when it’s open until 8 o’clock.

They have a decent collection of paintings but not on the scale of the public galleries in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Outside  I spotted this Banksy style stencil on the wall outside.


Inside, on the main staircase there was an attractive, contemporary stained glass work in the window.


Unfortunately I didn’t make a note of the artist’s name.

At the top of the stairs there was a sculpture by the Northern Irish artist, F. E McWilliam depicting a woman blown over by an explosion during “the Troubles”


Woman in Bomb Blast (1974) by F.E. McWilliam,

I normally associate McWilliam with abstract works, but this is very realistic. A little research revealed that this work

is the last and largest sculpture from a series called Women of Belfast which, he explained, ‘was concerned with violence, with one particular aspect, bomb-blast – the woman as victim of man’s stupidity’. Although they can be read as a metaphor for women affected by violence, these sculptures were McWilliam’s response to the Provisional IRA bombing of the Abercorn Restaurant in the centre of Belfast on 4 March 1972. The bomb exploded in the restaurant which was packed with Saturday afternoon shoppers, killing two women and injuring some 70 other people.

The Gallery’s collection spans the centuries from the 16th Century onwards. I particularly liked the exhibition of works by Irish artists from the AlB Art Collection which was donated to the Irish State in February 2012 and will become part of the Crawford Art Gallery’s permanent collection. These were some of my favourites

DSC02394 The cockle pickers (1890) by Joseph Malachy Kavangh


Corpus Christi Procession (1880) by Aloysius O’Kelly


A Race in Hy Brazil (1937) by Jack B. Yeats


Blue Still Life With Knife (1971) by William Scott


A Place With Stones (1979) by Patrick Collins


Habiba (1892) by John Lavery

The gallery also has a collection of watercolours, ink drawings and stained glass by Harry Clarke whose marvellous stained glass windows I saw in the Honan Chapel a mile or so away.


The Gallery’s website tells us

Clarke may be described as Ireland’s major Symbolist artist, whose synthesis of literary, musical, poetic and imagined visual images draws on a wide range of eclectic, sometimes obscure sources to produce an entirely original and idiosyncratic vision. This is as firmly rooted in the Yeatsian Celtic Revival and National Romanticism of late 19th/early 20th century Ireland as in European Symbolism, Decadence, and Art Nouveau of the same period, with the unusual extra dimension of consummate technical skill in stained glass.

The Gallery’s collection included a large number of cartoons – preparatory drawings on paper – for his masterpiece The Eve of St Agnes which is displayed at the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin


and illustrations from Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

The Fall of The House of Usher

Most of the earlier works on show and the temporary exhibitions didn’t particularly interest me, each to his own, and I didn’t intend to look around the large room full of casts of Classical Graeco-Roman sculpture. But on my second visit on my way out I popped into the sculpture gallery which is to one side of the entrance. I’m glad I did because tucked away on the wall in the corner was a large painting by Hughie O’Donoghue.


Raft (2007) by Hughie O’Donoghue

Pears pots and frying pans – William Scott at the Hepworth

William Scott

We went over to the Hepworth in Wakefield last Saturday. There’s been quite a few changes since our last visit on New Year’s Day with new exhibitions of works by Barbara Hepworth, Haroon Mirrza and William Scott.

The Scott exhibition marks the centenary of his birth and was first shown at Tate St Ives; it will travel on to the Ulster Museum in Belfast when it finishes at the Hepworth.  The exhibition is meant to “evolves” as it transfers between the galleries, so I imaging there have been some changes at the Hepworth compared to the Tate show.

It’s a comprehensive exhibition, covering the whole of his career. his early work was figurative but he soon began to concentrate on predominantly abstract paintings.  As with most temporary exhibitions, photography wasn’t allowed, but there are some examples of the works on show here and here.

And this video, from the Tate, which was produced while the exhibition was being shown at their gallery in St Ives, discusses his work and includes some of the pictures on display

William Scott, ‘Seated Nude’ 1939

Seated Nude 1939

Although he could turn his hand to subjects such as nudes (early in his career, particularly, the above example shown in the exhibition featured his wife) and landscapes, many of his paintings were still lives of fruit (he particularly seemed to like painting pears), fish and pots and pans. And frying pans were a dominant feature in many of his works. He is noted for commenting that “if the guitar was to Braque his Madonna, the frying pan could be my guitar.” In early paintings they were relatively realistic, but over time they became more and mrore abstract, eventually being reduced to a simple motif like in this painting, which was one of my favourites from those included in the exhibition.


Still Life with Orange Note, 1970

I also liked this pure abstract painting

William Scott, ‘Berlin Blues 4’ 1965

Berlin Blues 4 1965 (Source: Tate website)

As the name implies it was one of a series he painted during his time in Berlin in 1963-4. He chose the title, not because he was feeling depressed living in the city, but because it was started in Berlin and he discovered the particular blue pigment he used for while he was there.

I thought it was an excellent exhibition and will definitely replay a repeat visit, so we’ll be driving over the Pennines again before the end of September.


(I enjoyed reading this review of the exhibition by Andy Parkinson of “Patterns that Connect”)