‘There is no foreign land. It is the traveller only who is foreign’ - Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94), The Silverado Squatters (Chatto and Windus, 1883)
On the 29th of October the Fleming Collection, one of the finest collections of Scottish art in private hands, will present a selection of their greatest landscapes with the exhibition, No Foreign Land. In addition to masterpieces by Peploe and Cadell, works will be displayed that have rarely before been viewed in public, including William Crozier (1893–1930), The Slopes of Fiesole (recto) / Edinburgh From Castle Street (verso),1930 and The Blue Pool by David Young Cameron (1865-1945).
The Fleming Collection began as a corporate collection in 1968. The works accepted had one simple proviso: the work must be by Scottish artists or of Scottish scenes by any artist. As it stands today, landscapes comprise 60 per cent of the collection, however a number of these paintings do not depict native terrain, but other places: ‘foreign land’. No Foreign Land reflects the international outlook of Scottish artists as they produced astonishing works while exploring other lands.
The core of the exhibition focuses on twentieth-century landscape painting, documenting the influence of travel within the work; for example, of the Glasgow Boys who looked to France, in particular the Barbizon School, but also to Holland and The Hague School. A group of the Boys, including John Lavery (1856–1941) whose work is included in the exhibition, painted in the French village of Grez-sur-Loing, near Fontainebleau, making their base there from 1883 and joining an international community of artists and writers including Robert Louis Stevenson, who first visited in 1875. Feluccas on the Nile (c.1885) by Joseph Farquharson (1846–1935), is an untypical small oil sketch in marked contrast to his well-known snow scenes of the north-east of Scotland. As Scottish artists examined international styles, their work was still often engaged with subjects strongly linked to Scotland, such as the land and sea.
Displaying landscapes painted both in Scotland and elsewhere, No Foreign Land explores a different facet of the landscape genre in Scottish painting, presenting a more complex ‘picture’ of the geographic context of work by Scottish artists.