ROME TO IONA: FOUR CENTURIES OF SCOTTISH PAINTING

7 - 10 May 2015
Press release

Our 14th annual exhibition brings together the widest historical range of paintings we have yet exhibited in Hong Kong. The show begins in the seventeenth century with a rare work by the Scots-Flemish painter, William Gouw Ferguson. Rarer still, is a recently discovered work by his son, Henry Ferguson. Where William, in characteristic close-up, depicts a still life of game birds, his son’s work steps back to give us a large-scale painting of Roman ruins.

The exhibition’s title, Rome to Iona, is suggestive of that Scottish urge to travel and return. A defining feature of Scottish history has been the draw of foreign lands, both for explorers and for artists seek- ing inspiration. Theirs was the inevitable quest of travel, to contrast the familiar and the unfamiliar, learning from what they saw and combining it with their own aesthetic. Henry Ferguson (and his father before him) travelled to Italy to embark on the Grand Tour and learned from their Italian counterparts. The Glasgow Boys went to Paris to study in the ateliers, where they encountered the French Realists and the Impressionists. The Post-Impressionists and Fauves drew the Scottish Col- ourists to live and work in the South of France. And there are those painters who travelled around Europe and whose palette, technique or subject was forever changed on return to their native Scot- land – Anne Redpath and D Y Cameron, for example. And then there are also, of course, those painters whose subjects rarely, if ever, leave British shores: William McTaggart, or Sam Bough, or – one of Scotland’s most respected living artists – John Byrne.

Also showing alongside this exhibition will be sixteen stone sculptures by internationally acclaimed artist Emily Young, who will also be showing concurrently at the Venice Biennale.