College Art Collection

The College possesses a fascinating and diverse collection of art, ranging from 17th Century portraits to colourful modern landscapes. The collection includes paintings, prints, objects and sculpture, boasting pieces by well-known artists such as John Cunningham, Hugh Adam Crawford, John Bellany and Mary Armour.

Images and details of over 90 oil paintings from the College Art Collection can be found at Your Paintings. This project is a joint venture between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation, with the aim of putting all of the UK's publicly owned oil paintings online.

Here are some of the most notable items in the College collection.


Blue Bathed Berth

Blue Bathed Berth

Breakers

Breakers

Diana Princess Of Wales

Diana Princess Of Wales

Head Study Of Dr T J Honeyman

Head Study Of Dr T J Honeyman

James VI And I

James VI And I

Maister Peter Lowe

Maister Peter Lowe

Pink Roses

Pink Roses

Professor Sir Graham Teasdale

Professor Sir Graham Teasdale

Rose Cirrus Over The Hebrides

Rose Cirrus Over The Hebrides

Scottish Mother And Child

Scottish Mother And Child

The Dog And The Doctor

The Dog And The Doctor

The Grand Canal Venice

The Grand Canal Venice

Titian Partakes Of A Cappuccino

Titian Partakes Of A Cappuccino

Tribute To Clydebank The Stretcher Bearers

Tribute To Clydebank The Stretcher Bearers

William Hunter

William Hunter

  • Blue Bathed Berth
  • Breakers
  • Diana Princess Of Wales
  • Head Study Of Dr T J Honeyman
  • James VI And I
  • Maister Peter Lowe
  • Pink Roses
  • Professor Sir Graham Teasdale
  • Rose Cirrus Over The Hebrides
  • Scottish Mother And Child
  • The Dog And The Doctor
  • The Grand Canal Venice
  • Titian Partakes Of A Cappuccino
  • Tribute To Clydebank The Stretcher Bearers
  • William Hunter
  • Blue Bathed Berth

    Blue Bathed Berth

    Hamish MacDonald
    Mixed Media 1993
    © Hamish MacDonald Fine Art

    Hamish MacDonald (1935-2008) was born in St Vincent Street, Glasgow just a stone's throw from the College. He studied at Glasgow School of Art, where his artistic output consisted of Pop-art style collages. Taking influence from the Scottish Colourists, and fellow colourist inheritor, Joan Eardley, his style would eventually evolve into the lively and expressive style, for which he is known. Blue Bathed Berth is an excellent example of his work. Here we see his fondness for rich, vivid colours, in particular the titular blue - a dominant colour in many of his works. As well as paint, there are elements of collage and use of crayon providing yet more, strong colour as well as suggesting textural differences. This bright and exciting image secured MacDonald the College prize at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1993.

    After being diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in 2007, Macdonald began to explore the therapeutic role of art, and its relationship with medicine. During his treatment at the Beatson Oncology Centre, he began sketching staff and fellow patients. "I am a firm believer in the power that art has to inspire and help alleviate suffering", he is quoted as saying, "it can play a key role in lessening the burden that illness brings". The resulting works, the Beatson Drawings, were ultimately donated to the University of Glasgow Medical School, as a reminder to future medics of the palliative power of art.

  • Breakers

    Breakers at Cullen

    James Orr
    Acrylic on board c. 1997
    © James Orr

    The vitality of the landscapes by James Orr marks him out as a distinctively Scottish artist. Inspired and influenced by the work of the Glasgow Boys, Edward Seago and perhaps more obviously the Scottish Colourists Cadell and Peploe, James Orr depicts the simple pleasures in life through landscapes that are full of light, colour and immediacy. He paints in acrylic, which gives his paintings a distinguishing fluency. He was born in Glasgow and now lives in Ayrshire where he paints full-time, having studied part-time at Glasgow School of Art. He exhibits regularly in the annual RSA and RGI exhibitions, in a variety of London galleries and has held exhibitions abroad in New York, Hong Kong and Brussels. His work is held in the personal collections of the Duke of Edinburgh and Lord and Lady MacFarlane.

    This painting was purchased by the College from the RGI's exhibition in 1997 alongside another work, 'Arisaig and Eigg'. These paintings work well as a pair, with both of them executed in a similar style. That year 'Breakers at Cullen' won the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Award at the RGI.

  • Diana Princess Of Wales

    Diana, Princess of Wales

    Richard Foster
    Oil on canvas 1986
    © Richard Foster

    For almost twenty years Princess Diana encapsulated the lifestyle of the celebrity. Remembered for her glamour, her charity work for unfashionable causes and her controversial relationship with the Royal Family, she is still mourned across the county and the world. Princess Diana became Royal Patron of the College in 1983 after accepting the invitation of the then president, Dr Thomas Thomson. She visited the College to receive the award of Honorary Fellowship in 1984. After this visit the Princess agreed to sit for a portrait commissioned by the College, choosing London artist Richard Foster to depict her.

    Foster was born in 1945 and brought up in Norfolk. He studied painting in Florence and in London at the City and Guilds Art School. Foster has received commissions from Europe and America as well as Great Britain and won the Lord Mayor's Award for London Landscapes. He has held three individual exhibitions in London, regularly exhibits at the Royal Academy and is a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Princess Diana's portrait was delivered to the College in 1986 and spent three weeks being exhibited in the Portrait Painters' Annual Exhibition in the Mall Galleries in London in 1987. It is a greatly admired portrait and thought to be an excellent likeness, although the Princess herself apparently said she is depicted carrying a few extra pounds!

    Princess Diana resigned from her role as Patron of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1996; her tragic death occurring just over a year later.

  • Head Study Of Dr T J Honeyman

    Head Study of Dr T.J. Honeyman

    Benno Schotz
    Bronze on a wooden plinth
    By permission of the Trustees of the late Benno Schotz

    Benno Schotz (1891-1984) was born in Estonia, coming to Glasgow in 1912 to study engineering at Glasgow Royal Technical College and later sculpture at Glasgow School of Art. After a highly successful series of international one-man shows, he returned to GSA in 1938 as head of the sculpture and ceramics departments. In order to capture the unique character of his sitters he asked that they continue to talk and move while he worked. He sculpted quickly, a technique which is evident in this roughly worked, expressive study.

    The sitter, Dr Tom Honeyman (1892-1971), was a prominent figure in Glasgow's cultural history. After graduating from the University of Glasgow with a medical degree he practised medicine until 1929. He then put his medical career on hold to embark on a long and illustrious life as an art dealer. In 1939 he became the first Director of Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, a post he held for 15 years. During his tenure he was instrumental in securing the donation of the Burrell collection in 1944, and in the purchase of Salvador Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross (1951) in 1952. Honeyman never lost his love of medicine and was a great friend to the College. His family gifted the sculpture to the College when he died in 1971.

  • James VI And I

    James VI and I

    Unknown Artist
    Oil on panel

    King James VI and I united independent Scotland and England under one monarch at the Union of the Crowns in 1603. James was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley and became King of Scotland in 1567 and then succeeded Queen Elizabeth of England in 1603 when she left no heir. His new role in England meant he largely became an absentee monarch, famous for his assertion that he could effectively 'govern by pen'. Although he has been viewed by historians as 'the wisest fool in Christendom', he holds an important place in medical history because of his granting of the charter in 1599 establishing the Glasgow medical incorporation now known as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. This charter, bringing surgery and medicine together in one body, restricted the practice of unqualified practitioners in Glasgow and in a wide surrounding area. James entrusted the founder, Maister Peter Lowe, with the responsibility of examining and licensing all those practising surgery, judging they were properly trained and of good character. The charter also controlled public health, medical jurisprudence and drugs and provided free medical service to the poor.

    The portrait was purchased by Professor G. B. Fleming and, after restoration, was presented to the Faculty in 1952. It is thought to be an excellent likeness. There is considerable debate about who painted the portrait, with the names Paul Somer (or van Someren) and Daniel Mytens being suggested, undoubtedly because of the distinctively 17th Century Northern style of the portrait.

  • Maister Peter Lowe

    Maister Peter Lowe

    19th century copy of original attributed to Daniel Mytens
    Oil on canvas

    Maister Peter Lowe was a surgeon and founder of the institution now known as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He was born around 1550 and left his native Scotland to pursue a medical education in continental Europe. After graduating, probably in Paris, he served as a surgeon to King Henry IV of France. On his return to Scotland, he settled in Glasgow around 1598. Finding himself displeased with the state of medical practice in Glasgow, he petitioned the King, then James VI, and was granted a Charter in 1599 which enabled the foundation of a medical incorporation for physicians and surgeons. The College is unique in being the only Royal Medical College in the British Isles admitting physicians, surgeons, dentists and, more recently, practitioners in travel medicine and podiatric medicine.

    The painting shows Lowe with greyed hair and a furrowed brow, with his hand resting on a charter. It was probably painted towards the end of his career, around the time of the Glasgow medical incorporation's foundation in 1599. The painting is a 19th century copy of an earlier work. It is not known for sure who painted the original portrait but it has been attributed to Daniel Mytens or a member of his circle.

  • Pink Roses

    Pink Roses (New Dawn Roses)

    Dr Mary Armour
    1980 oil on canvas
    Reproduced by kind permission of the Estate of the late Dr Mary Armour

    Mary Armour is best known as a still-life painter in oil and watercolour. The examples of her work that we hold in the College are some of her beautiful and much-loved flower paintings. Mary Armour was born in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, in 1902. Her art teacher at Hamilton Academy noticed her talent and persuaded her father to allow her to enrol at Glasgow School of Art in 1920. Although she deserved the final year prize she did not receive it after ignoring the tutor's instructions to create a final piece using traditional iconography. Armour instead chose a modern subject, women gathering at the pithead, highlighting that she did not shy away from clashes of artistic taste. After graduating she became an art teacher and married the landscape and figure painter William Armour. After her marriage she was no longer allowed to teach so took up painting full time.

    Armour became better known in the 1930s, exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. She later became a lecturer in still-life painting at Glasgow School of Art. As her career developed Armour began to use brighter colours and looser brushwork while still maintaining the traditional, painterly qualities of Scottish art. By the 1950s Armour was immensely successful, winning a variety of awards and gaining full membership to the RSA, RGIFA and an honorary LLD from Glasgow University. Her success did not change her straightforward manner, her ability to speak plainly and her sense of humour. Unfortunately, in the last ten years of her life she had to give up painting due to failing eyesight and poor health.

    Armour's delicate landscapes and still-lives represent her belief that traditional artistic values can have modern relevance and display the Grand Style of the Glasgow School of Art in the 1920s.

  • Professor Sir Graham Teasdale

    Professor Sir Graham Teasdale

    Anne Mackintosh
    Portrait in oils 2006
    © Anne Mackintosh

    World-renowned neurosurgeon Sir Graham Teasdale was President of the College between 2003 and 2006 and is widely known for his involvement in the invention of the Glasgow Coma Scale (or GCS) along with Professor Bryan Jennett. This is used in every hospital throughout the world to give a reliable and objective way to measure the conscious state of a patient.

    Sir Graham was born in County Durham in 1940. He qualified from Durham Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1963 and later moved to Glasgow to train in neurosurgery in 1967. Sir Graham's research has been invaluable to the understanding of cerebral ischaemia, the place of neuro-protective agents and the genetic aspects of brain damage in head injuries. He is also the author of over 400 publications, has received numerous prestigious awards and is involved with many societies in the UK and abroad, including the European Brain Injury Consortium and the American College of Surgeons. In 2006 he was knighted for his contribution to neurosurgery.

    His portrait was commissioned by the College in 2006 and was painted by Anne Mackintosh, who has painted several of the more recent College Presidents including Mr James McArthur and Professor Ross Lorimer. Mackintosh studied botany at Glasgow University, gaining a PhD in Plant Physiology and later attended non-diploma classes at Glasgow School of Art. She has painted the Duchess of York and politicians including Margaret Thatcher and Donald Dewar.

  • Rose Cirrus Over The Hebrides

    Rose Cirrus Over the Hebrides

    James Spence
    Watercolour 1997
    © James Spence RGI RSW PAI

    A subject to which Spence returns time and again is the dramatic West Coast sky. This intense skyscape is strongly indicative of Spence's style. He presents the sky itself as a turbulent and mysterious entity, almost dancing across the page. He strives to capture the elusive qualities of natural light, like the Impressionists before him, displaying a particular fascination with dawn and twilight. His palette betrays an almost Fauvist sensibility, as this rich, violet colour scheme is transferred to many of his subjects; from sun bruised landscapes to pet studies and still lives.

    Throughout his career, James Spence has worked for the promotion and development of contemporary visual art in the West of Scotland. In 1957, while a student at Glasgow School of Art, he co-founded the Glasgow Group of artists with James Morrison and future wife Anda Paterson. Members of the Group were dissatisfied with the restrictive, institutional exhibition system in place. Rather than rely on these institutions, the Group set up its own annual exhibition. Spence was the first president of the Group, leading it for over 30 years. The Glasgow Group Scottish Artists Co-operative continues to exhibit every year.

  • Scottish Mother And Child

    Scottish Mother and Child

    John Bellany
    Oil on canvas 2005
    © John Bellany

    John Bellany (1942 - 2013) was an internationally respected artist whose dark symbolism and expressionist techniques communicated his desire to create art that could be relevant and moving to ordinary people. He was born in the fishing village of Port Seton and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. While at Edinburgh he won an Andrew Grant Scholarship taking him to Paris where he particularly admired Gustav Courbet's paintings for their socialist undertones and began to reject the 'belle peinture' of the Edinburgh School.

    His early work was based on the fishing lifestyle of Port Seton but gradually became more symbolic, linking his own experiences to themes of religion or mythology. Bellany and Alexander Moffat adopted a 'manifesto-position' on figurative painting, choosing to work against what they saw as the lack of humanity in modern art. They felt they were connected to the expressionist tradition of Bosch, Breugel, Courbet, Munch and the German Expressionists. Bellany's paintings grew more sinister and radical in the 60s and 70s, with birds, fish and animals being used to represent death, guilt and sexual obsession and acidic colours and broad brushwork almost approaching abstraction. The 1980s were a time of serious illness for Bellany but he continued to work, with his paintings still evoking symbolism but moving away from his experimental techniques.

    'Scottish Mother and Child' was a gift from Bellany to the medical professionals in Glasgow who cared for him after he suffered a heart attack. It was thought the most appropriate place for the painting was in the College. It is recognisable as a Bellany through its bright colours, typical fishing village subject and most importantly, its use of symbolism, with a fish looming over the woman's head, suggesting a dark undertone to the painting.

  • The Dog And The Doctor

    The Dog and the Doctor

    Joseph Denovan Adam
    Oil on Canvas

    Joseph Denovan Adam, RSA, RSW (1841-1896) was considered to be the foremost wildlife painter of his time, with a particular speciality in Highland cows. In 1887 he settled at Craigmill House in Stirling, where he set up and ran an artists' workshop and school of animal painting. He even kept Highland cows and various other farm animals on the grounds as live subjects for his pupils to study. Adam is as an important figure in the cultural history of Stirling and many see his works as commemorative of Stirling's importance for the study of art.

    This rather idyllic image of the snoozing medic and his faithful companion is a favourite among College members and staff. It is quite a departure from Adam's usual bright landscapes and fiery, orange cattle. However, the reverse of the canvas bears an unfinished study of horses, a more typical subject for Adam. The muted colour scheme and sense of stillness in the scene are somewhat reminiscent of Whistler. The composition is strikingly similar to that of Whistler's Arrangements in Grey and Black (The Artist's Mother and Thomas Carlyle) both of which were displayed in Scotland in the 1880s. Although this painting is atypical of Adam's work, he still manages to place focus on the animal. The doctor dozes in the background while the dog glances out, in recognition of the viewer's gaze, his bright coat catching our eye.

  • The Grand Canal Venice

    The Grand Canal - Venice

    John Cunningham
    Oil on canvas
    © Mrs Yvonne Cunningham

    John Cunningham's obituary in The Glasgow Herald, 1998, began 'Dr John Cunningham's death at the age of 72 robs Glasgow of one of its most endearing, well-known and colourful art-world stalwarts'. Cunningham was indeed a successful West of Scotland artist, with his work continuing in the tradition of the Scottish Colourists and being much sought after by collectors in Scotland and across the world. He was born in Lanarkshire in 1926 and studied at Glasgow School of Art, where he later became a senior lecturer.

    His work generally depicts Scottish subjects, like his paintings of Ardnamurchan and Strathaven, where he spent a lot of his leisure time. 'The Grand Canal, Venice', is therefore quite unusual for a Cunningham but still displays the bright colour and vibrancy typical in his work. The College is particularly indebted to Cunnningham for his help in supervising the repair of the old paintings in our collection and in selecting, framing and hanging the new.

  • Titian Partakes Of A Cappuccino

    Titian Partakes of a Cappuccino and a Glass of Red

    Heather Brennan
    Oil on canvas 1998
    © Heather Brennan

    This work earned Heather Brennan the College prize at the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Art exhibition in 1998 and she considers it her "magnum opus". The title, Titian Partakes of a Cappuccino and a Glass of Red, is a reference not only to the narrative, but also to the work that inspired it. The composition was created as a homage to Titian. The configuration of the figures is quoted directly from his painting, Christ Crowned with Thorns (c.1540. the Louvre, Paris). Brennan includes other elements reminiscent of Renaissance art, such as the classicised columns and arch in the background and the tile pattern which indicated the recession of space. Interestingly, many of the compositional elements in Titian's painting are attributed to the direct influence of Michelangelo on his work. Brennan's painting is one in a grand tradition of artists citing their heroes. This theme reoccurs in Brennan's work. Some of her other figurative works are directly assigned 'Old Master' sources including Revisiting Raphael - Rachel and Rebecca and The Mathematician (after Vermeer) both of 1999.

    After giving up her 15 year career as a professional artist, Brennan is now Departmental Assistant for the Department for Computing and Maths at Stirling University. She continues to produce artwork when her busy schedule allows. More of her work can be seen on her website.

  • Tribute To Clydebank The Stretcher Bearers

    Tribute to Clydebank (The Stretcher Bearers)

    Hugh Adam Crawford
    Oil on canvas 1941
    © Hugh Adam Crawford, Estate.

    Hugh Adam Crawford RSA was born in Busby, Lanarkshire and studied at Glasgow School of Art between 1919 and 1923, then at art schools in London. He is most remembered for his ability to motivate and inspire as the teacher of artists such as Colquhoun, MacBryde, William Crosby and Joan Eardley. Crawford was Head of Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art, Head of Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen and Principal of Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee. These roles made him one of the greatest influences on several generations of Scottish artists, although he never imposed his own vision on them but encouraged them to 'kick away the props' and explore their own ideas. Crawford was not only a teacher, however, with his own work continuing in the Glasgow tradition of representing reality. He painted portraits and murals commissioned for John Brown's shipyard and Scottish Brewers Glasgow.

    Crawford considered 'Tribute to Clydebank, (The Stretcher Bearers)' as his best work and indeed it was acclaimed 'picture of the year' when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1942. The painting depicts the grim reality of casualties borne on stretchers during wartime but still portrays the quiet dignity of Renaissance painters such as Piero della Francesca. Cezanne also influenced Crawford, which is clear from the dynamism of the picture and his dramatic depiction of 'the moment'. Despite its early success, however, the painting had to be rescued by the College in 1981 a few months before Crawford's death. After failed attempts to have it accepted in a permanent gallery it is said Crawford had threatened to burn it.

  • William Hunter

    William Hunter

    Unknown artist, after Joshua Reynolds
    Oil on Canvas

    William Hunter (1718-1783), born in East Kilbride, is an important figure in both medicine and the arts. He was a renowned obstetrician and anatomist but maintained a keen interest in art and collecting. Over the years Hunter built a magnificent and varied collection of art and artefacts which he ultimately bequeathed to the University of Glasgow. To this day, Hunter's bequest forms the core of the Hunterian Museum's collection. Many objects have subsequently been added to the collection, including the posthumous portrait of Hunter painted by Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) of which this is a copy.

    Reynolds was, at the time, arguably Britain's foremost painter and portrait artist. He was a founding member, and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, where Hunter lectured in anatomy. The pair were firm friends, and are often pictured together attending lectures at the Academy. Reynolds was the natural choice of artist when the University of Glasgow commissioned Hunter's portrait. Reynolds painted the portrait largely from memory, referring to earlier portraits of Hunter and his death mask as aids. In Reynolds' portrait, Hunter is shown almost full length, surrounded by the tools of his study.

  • Blue Bathed Berth
  • Breakers
  • Diana Princess Of Wales
  • Head Study Of Dr T J Honeyman
  • James VI And I
  • Maister Peter Lowe
  • Pink Roses
  • Professor Sir Graham Teasdale
  • Rose Cirrus Over The Hebrides
  • Scottish Mother And Child
  • The Dog And The Doctor
  • The Grand Canal Venice
  • Titian Partakes Of A Cappuccino
  • Tribute To Clydebank The Stretcher Bearers
  • William Hunter

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