Kirkcudbright artists’ collection join elite list

A collection of work which records Kirkcudbright’s unique part in Scotland’s art history has joined Scotland’s must-see list.

It has also been awarded Recognised Collections of National Significance status by Museum Galleries Scotland.

Kirkcudbright’s association with the Glasgow art movement started when several artists, including Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists, such as Samuel Peploe and Francis Cadell, based themselves in the area.

Between 1880 and 1980 over 100 artists painted there and the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Collection, cared for by Dumfries and Galloway Council, illustrates the lives and works of the collective and roots the town firmly in the history of Scottish art.

Collection highlights include silver and enamel jewellery by Glasgow girl Jessie M King, oils by Samuel Peploe, paintings and sketches by the Faeds of Gatehouse and a collection of works by Charles Oppenheimer, most famous for his iconic British Rail posters of the 1950s.

The collection also holds archives of letters and pamphlets as well as medals and tools collected and used by a range of artists based in Kirkcudbright over the last 150 years.

Councillor Tom McAughtrie, chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s community and customer services committee, said: “I’m delighted that the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Collection has been awarded Recognised Collections of National Significance Status by Museum Galleries Scotland.

“Building the local economy is the number one priority for our Council.

“Given the growth of cultural tourism, this recognition of our rich artistic heritage offers us a key opportunity to attract people to the area, delivering significant, long-term economic impact.

“Along with the Kirkcudbright Art Gallery project, this represents a major step forward in developing Kirkcudbright as a must-visit arts destination.”

Museums Galleries Scotland manages the Recognition Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The scheme ensures that Scotland’s most important collections are identified, cared for and promoted to wider audiences.

The award also opens up access for Dumfries and Galloway Council to apply for recognition funding from Museums Galleries Scotland to improve how people experience the collection.

The museums have all received plaques to tell visitors about their importance.

Along with the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Collection, the Highland Folk Museum and Glasgow Women’s Library have also received recognition status in this round, bringing the total of Recognised Collections of National Significance to 46.

Ray Macfarlane, chair of Museums Galleries Scotland’s Recognition Committee, said: “These three new Recognised Collections demonstrate the incredible diversity and uniqueness of what lies inside museums and galleries dotted in towns and cities all across Scotland.

“By gaining Recognised Collection status we hope more people will get the opportunity to explore and learn about these important collections and the fascinating stories they tell.”