16 Mar — 15 Apr 2017 at The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Land of mountain and the flood, Land of my sires! What mortal hand Can e,er untie the filial band That knits me to thy rugged strand.
Few places in Britain can rival the Scottish Highlands in terms of unspoilt beauty, turbulent history and Royal visits. It is an area where the rugged landscape lures travellers today as it has done for 250 years ago. Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) played a major role in creating the heroic image of the Highlands and produced powerful narratives about the landscapes and traditions. Queen Victoria's visits from 1842 onwards and her purchase of Balmoral continued to build on its legacy and encourage the notion of Scotland and Romanticism.
However, the tourist’s gaze is a complicated one and is a vision that hasn’t always sat so easily with Scots. What is true, is that Scotland has multiple identities: we don’t see the past in the same way and there isn’t one collective response. Highlandism may be manufactured but within it there are truths too. We can’t throw away the past.
Highland is an exhibition that has brought together pictures that describe both the cultural and physical landscape north west of the Highland Boundary Fault. Artists were, of course, drawn to the drama of the landscape but on that land are the identifying characteristics that define Scotland from the outside: tartan, crofting, Presbyterianism, the clearances, Ossian, Queen Victoria and Scott.
Works by some of Scotland’s most acclaimed landscape artists including; William Leighton Leitch, Horatio McCulloch, Waller Hugh Paton and Sir D Y Cameron.