Art in Dundee: Works from the Royal Scottish Academy Collection

Tower Foyer Building, Dundee

Admission Free


A new exhibition at the Tower Foyer Gallery in the Tower Building at the University of Dundee! This collaboration between the University of Dundee Museum Services and the Royal Scottish Academy provides a chance to see Dundee-themed artworks from the RSA’s extensive collections.


Despite its Edinburgh base, the RSA (founded in 1826) has always had a national remit at its heart in its encouragement of contemporary Scottish art. Among its earliest members were four Dundee-born painters, the brothers William and George Simson, Robert Gibb and John Zephaniah Bell.


Dundee’s most significant connections with the Academy began in the 20th century. John Duncan, David Foggie and James McIntosh Patrick were all elected as members, and the expansion of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in the 1950s led to important artists such as Hugh Adam Crawford, Alberto Morrocco and David McClure coming to Dundee – all these were soon elected to the Academy. More recent Art College staff to become members of the RSA include Dennis Buchan, Alastair Ross, Will Maclean and Edward Summerton.


Several of these artists are represented in the exhibition, which includes stunning diploma works from Morrocco and McClure as well as rarely seen pieces such as a Hugh Adam Crawford painting of the old pier at Broughty Ferry.


More unusual connections are also explored in the displays. The famous landscape painter William Gillies was first inspired to take up art by his uncle, William Ryle Smith, who was then art master at Grove Academy, Broughty Ferry. During summer holidays Gillies would accompany Smith on painting expeditions. “How delighted I was when I was allowed to go with him and try my hand,” Gillies later recalled. “That really was the beginning of my long enthralment with watercolour painting.”


The RSA also supports the next generation of Scottish artists through the John Kinross and Alastair Salvesen travelling scholarships. Many of the recipients of these have been Dundee artists (usually graduates of the Art College), and a selection of them are also represented in the exhibition.


Nicola Ireland, Collections Assistant at the RSA and co-curator of the exhibition said: “Although we can only show a small selection of the Dundee-related art in our collection, we hope that the exhibition will provide an indication of the Academy’s relationship with Dundee artists of the past and present and the anticipation of future Dundee connections.”


Matthew Jarron, Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the RSA on this exciting exhibition, which we hope will provide further evidence of Dundee’s significant contributions to the history of Scottish art.”


Special Event – Saturday 29 April, 3pm


As part of the Show Scotland 06 events programme, Nicola Ireland will give a guided tour of the exhibition, revealing the work of some of Dundee’s most celebrated artists and their connections with the Academy. For more information please contact Nicola Ireland, 0131 624 6277