Thursday, January 19, 2017


We went today to the Scottish National Gallery to see the January Turner exhibition. These watercolours were given to the gallery on condition that they were shown only in January each year, to preserve them. They were... very good. Very Turnerish. I'd have had a few as presents, if anyone had been offering. But on the whole, Turner is a bit wispy for me. A bit too Ola Gjeilo rather than Mozart. Each to his/her own.

After that, we wandered through the gallery. I do like this painting by Alexander Nasmyth, 1758-1840. It's of Princes Street and shows the beginning of the building of the Royal Scottish Academy, which is just in front of the gallery we were visiting. 

You can see the pillars going up.

This is what it looks like today, side on.

Here's a painting of Princes Street Gardens and the Castle in the 1860s by Samuel Bough (1822-1878). At this time, the gardens were privately owned by the owners of the houses in Princes Street, and were accessed by a subscription scheme - until 1876, only a few years before my older grandparents were born. This seems unbelievable now - the gardens are widely used by everyone. Queen Street Gardens, parallel and not far away, are still private. (When I'm dictator, I shall annexe them and open them to the public.)

Interestingly (to me, anyway) there's a path on the other side of the railings. Maybe it was artistic licence and the path wasn't really there, but if it was, then at some point it was removed, because now the ground banks steeply down and then there's a path.

And this is a painting by Velazquez (1599-1660) in the gallery. It's one of my favourites: An Old Woman Cooking Eggs. Not so sure about the "old" - in her 50s, maybe? But why is she looking at her grandson (if that's what he is) instead of the eggs? He's not looking at her. I reckon he's in trouble.

Isn't the onion exquisite? (Sorry about the reflection of my phone on the glass, and the poor quality of my photos.)

And aren't the jugs?

And the shadow of the knife on the bowl?

And the brass pan?

Imagine this being painted in Spain in 1630 or so and still being admired in Scotland (and in my blog...) nearly five hundred years later - and, no doubt, further into the future. Velazquez might have been surprised... or perhaps not. I wonder if he felt that his paintings were for all time - or if he expected to be forgotten.

(And Sarah, thanks so much for your comment. How interesting that you, too, have some of that flowery fabric!)


  1. I like Turner, but I love Velasquez.

  2. Ok, Sold. Last time, the botannical gardens. Next time, the paintings. ;-D

  3. Fabulous paintings! (And photos too - with a phone, no less!) The onion... it's making me cry, it's so realistic! 8-)

  4. What a beautiful city you live in.

  5. Yes, can't imagine not being able to walk in the gardens. Absolutely superb those more housekeeping ones.

  6. The onion is amazing--such detail! I wish I could paint. I am in awe of those who can.

  7. Note to self: must look at paintings more often, really look! Thanks for opening my eyes to a different world. You have made me think about other stuff!! Lxx