Drum Castle exhibition puts focus on artist EA Hornel's photographs

The National Trust for Scotland’s Drum Castle is hosting a new exhibition, allowing visitors to see through the eyes of acclaimed Scottish artist Edward Atkinson Hornel.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 20th August 2021, 6:00 am
The exhibition feature photographs of artist Edward Atkinson Hornel and objects and curiosities brought back by Scottish travellers. (Photos: National Trust for Scotland)
The exhibition feature photographs of artist Edward Atkinson Hornel and objects and curiosities brought back by Scottish travellers. (Photos: National Trust for Scotland)

Rather than focus on his paintings, with Hornel recognised as one of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ and a celebrated painter of landscapes, flowers, and people, ‘A Painter Behind the Camera’ instead focuses on the many photographs Hornel took and collected to serve as ‘building blocks’ for his paintings.

The photographs were taken in Scotland, and during trips to Japan (1893-4 and 1921), Sri Lanka (1907) and Myanmar (1921). They offer great insight into how Hornel created a 'database' of motifs, poses, models and gestures to use in his work.

The exhibition, which runs until December 19, has been curated by Marianne Fossaluzza, who worked on Hornel for her PhD at the University of Aberdeen and is a research volunteer for the trust, alongside Ben Reiss, the Morton Photography Project Curator.

Hornel took the photographs on trips to Japan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. (Photo: National Trust for Scotland)

As part of the exhibition, visitors can also see a selection of objects and curiosities brought back by Scottish travellers from East Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries, which are normally displayed at other National Trust for Scotland properties across the North East, selected and curated by Vikki Duncan, Curator (North & North West).

Some of these objects were imported from East Asia, while others are keepsakes or mementoes brought back by Scottish travellers, such as the lacquer and mother-of-pearl vanity set that the late David Irvine of Drum's grandfather gave to his wife as a wedding gift after his own journey.

All items showcase beautiful craftsmanship and echo the props and items visible in Hornel's photographs.

Marianne Fossaluzza, curator of the exhibition, said: "This exhibition showcases Hornel as a photographer, how he carefully organised his shots in a very pictorial manner to make photographs easily transposable into paintings.

The exhibition at Drum Castle runs until December 19. (Photo: National Trust for Scotland)

" We have carefully curated a stunning selection of photographs from Broughton House, putting them side by side to explore Hornel's practice and his perception of – and working relationship with – his models.

“We hope you will enjoy this exhibition as much as we loved curating it!"

For over 90 years the conservation charity has saved, maintained and shared many of the country’s most loved places, rich with history, heritage, nature and culture.

The charity celebrates Scotland’s heritage and with almost 100 places in its care, there’s a place for everyone to love.

Visitors can see the exhibition in Drum Castle – one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses – from Friday to Monday, anytime from 10 am until 4 pm (last entry into the castle at 3.30 pm).

The team at Drum Castle have made this experience as safe as possible and will follow Covid-19 guidelines and safety measures. The National Trust for Scotland is urging anyone planning to visit the exhibition to check the latest government guidance around Covid-19 restrictions.

The exhibition is part of the castle visit, and no pre-booking is necessary.