Sunday 6 September 2015

Wanderings in Southern Scotland

  I've had a lovely break in southern Scotland.
 Some of you may recognise the outline of my favourite city... Edinburgh!
This is a picture laden post... warnings now!:)

I arrived at the end of the fringe festival and the city filled with a tangible, vibrant energy. My first stop was the national gallery. I love visiting Art galleries, they give me endless inspiration.

I thought I would share my favourite works,particularly as they are from Scottish artists which you may not have heard of..
This is by Robert Burns... no not the poet!. ..
The other perhaps less famous Robert Burns. Born in 1869 he was a champion of the Scottish art nouveau movement. He combined producing beautiful paintings with teaching, becoming head of painting at Edinburgh College of Art ( A place dear to my heart ;) )

This piece is called Diana and her Nymphs and was created for Crawfords tearooms on Edinburgh's Princes street. It must have been an amazing place as Robert Burns designed the whole tearoom interior. Sadly the tearoom is long gone but at least the panel survives in all its glory.
The gold leaf is unbelievably beautiful..

Detail of gold embelishment

The other WOW pieces are a set of four embroidered panels entitled  'progress of a soul'
They are by the Irish born artist Phobe Anna Traquair. Although Irish Phoebe married a scot and spent much of her adult life in Edinburgh. She was a star of the Arts and crafts movement at a time when men dominated the art world. She was the first leading professional woman  artist in Scotland, painting several Edinburgh interiors including the hospital for sick children.

The embroidered panels are exquisite and glow with rich colour despite being over a hundred years old.

I tried to take a detail of the embroidery, the lighting in the gallery is not bright to preserve the panels and of course no flash photos are allowed but it does give you  an idea of the work!

 History of art over and a change of scenery, I moved south to the Scottish border region. A beautiful and tranquil part of Scotland. This is Smailholm Tower tower near the market town of Kelso.

Smailholm tower
  I have always wanted to visit one of these tower houses. It was built in the 15th century, a time when this region was often a dangerous place to live, if you had money you best protected it by building yourself one of these mini fortresses! This one was built by the wealthy Pringle family.

Standing 65 ft tall.

  Some beautiful contemporary tapestries grace the walls, I'm not sure of the artist. ( if you know drop me a line)
Tapestries on display at Smailholm

The view from the roof shows the distinctive outline of the Eildon hills in the distance.

view from the roof, which you can see is carpeted with wild flowers.

The view from the roof parapet was incredible! Such a clear and bright day too. Scotland's summer has been dreadful so a bit of sun was wonderful.
Finally to end it off I visited Floors Castle again in the borders near Kelso for the annual massed pipe day. A day of re-enactment, piping displays and dog agility events... lots of fun :)

mass pipe display

There is a beautiful garden at floors, which despite the summer rain was ablaze with colour.

 Anyway this was my end of Summer break and I am so glad the sun shone...if only briefly
I hope you have had a great Summer and are looking forward to the changing colours of  Autumn.

Floors castle gardens


  1. Beautiful photos, inspiring places! I do hope I get to visit Scotland one day.

  2. Oh so great to have shared with us all these beautiful photos and of course dear Edinburgh which is such a precious place to me!

  3. Thanks so much for the tour - I'll take some vicarious Scottish travel any day! Would love to see it in person some day.

  4. I really hope to visit Edinburgh on day, and to visit the National Gallery. Your photos of the embroideries by Phobe Anna Traquair look amazing, as do the works of Robert Burns. I actually lived in Ayr as a small girl, and went to school in Alloway, just around the corner from the other Robert Burns's cottage. Scotland's summer hasn't been good either then, we've had a pretty dismal one down here in Southern England too! Thank goodness for fabric, paint and stitch to brighten our days eh!

  5. What a beautiful stroll through your world!! Very interesting...I see where those works of art would be of influence to yours!! Love the greenery and luscious garden at the end too!! Such a nice little history of my Fathers land! Thanks for sharing! Glad you enjoyed your jaunt!

    Hugs Giggles

  6. Wow, the paintings and embroideries are utterly beautiful - I do love Art Nouveau style. It looks like you had a lovely and inspiring break, and you've renewed my desire to visit Scotland again!

  7. I enjoyed your photos, stitching and mixed media very much. I have not been to the Isle of Skye, but I've visited many other parts of Scotland, as far north as Ullapool. All of it beautiful. I have done a lot of mixed media using linoleum stamps, leaves, acrylic, and hand stitching on canvas. I show some in my blog


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