Varnishing Day

Posted on 25 March 2020

On Wednesday the 25th March 2020 the Royal Scottish Academy was due to host a unique gathering of people.  This gathering would have comprised of Academicians, Honorary Academicians, Scholars, Award Winners and Staff who would have come together to celebrate the 194th Varnishing Day Lunch.

Varnishing Day is a much loved and looked forward to date in the RSA calendar.  Traditionally held on a Wednesday before the opening of the Annual Exhibition, it was an opportunity for artists to apply the final layer of varnish to their work before the grand unveiling to the public.  James McIntosh Patrick OBE RSA, was the last Academician who regularly took up this opportunity, until his death in 1998.

Varnishing Day has always been an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate art and architecture, to see old friends and meet new ones, to exchange ideas and to speak of the past, present and the future.  Even though the Varnishing Day lunch is not going ahead, now more than ever this is a good time to remind ourselves of the talent and creativity that exists in Scotland. There would traditionally be a toast to the Annual Exhibition at 3.30pm.  Even though we are distant from each other perhaps we should all still make this toast but in place of the exhibition, we make it to health, happiness and to the creativity of art and architecture in Scotland. Slàinte!”