|4 Nov 2021|
The light and life of the Scottish artist John Henry Lorimer
The first exhibition dedicated to the Scottish artist John Henry Lorimer (1856-1936) will open at the City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Edinburgh on Saturday 6 November. It is showcasing almost 50 oil paintings, watercolours, sketches and original objects featured in the artworks.
Over the years, Scottish audiences have shown a lot of support for John Henry, voting Spring Moonlight at the Kirkcaldy Galleries and The Flight of the Swallows at the City Art Centre as their favourite paintings in the galleries' permanent collections. Both paintings will be included in the exhibition. The Flight of the Swallows will be displayed with one of the mirrors seen in the painting. Similarly, the painting Hush, which shows the artist’s nephew Christopher Lorimer, will be displayed with the cot designed for Christopher by his father Sir Robert Lorimer. A letter, written by Robert, that includes a sketch of the cot will also be displayed.
Further highlights include The Eleventh Hour, a painting that received a gold medal when displayed in Paris in 1900, and Grandmother's Birthday, the first painting by a Scottish artist to be bought by the French Government. Grandmother's Birthday, also known as Bénédicte, will be displayed with one of the chairs that features in the painting, also designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. The painting, which is usually stored at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, was last exhibited in 1989 alongside paintings by Millet, Whistler and Morisot.
A portrait of Sarah Siddons Mair (1846-1941) will also be exhibited. She is known for her work in promoting higher education for women, and was one of the founders of St George's High School for Girls in 1888. This portriat has been borrowed from St George's School, Edinburgh where it usually hangs on the main staircase.
Visitors will also be able to download an audioguide, which they can listen to on their smartphones. The audioguide is presented and produced by the exhibition co-curator, Charlotte Lorimer, the great great niece of John Henry Lorimer. It includes dramatised readings of family letters and memoirs, performed by Clive Russell, George Lorimer, Ed Wade, Natasha Jobst and Sarah Haynes. It also includes twelve original poems by Christine de Luca, each inspired by a different painting by John Henry Lorimer and original music by Delilah Montagu.
The exhibition also includes a short film about the Lorimer family as a whole and their restoration of Kellie Castle in Fife. The script for the film was written around 50 years ago by Esther Chalmers, the great niece of John Henry Lorimer. It was discovered in an archive at the National Library of Scotland. The film has been produced by Beetle Campbell and sponsored by Charles Stanley & Co.
There is also an extensive programme of events planned to accompany the exhibition including a series of in gallery and digital lectures, tours, fashion shows and art workshops.