of the Borders
of the watercolours of the great Tom Scott RSA. The Scott Gallery,
Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick
in time to almost 100 years ago and imagine that you are sitting
on a wooded slope just above Wiltonburn, Hawick looking ‘up
Teviot’. Focus on the valley below and picture the dark,
moody keep on the left locally known as Goldielands Tower.
Teviot gleams like polished silver in a subdued winter setting
where only the fierce ginger bark of a statuesque Scots pine
provides colourful relief. Shadowy figures walk on the road
below and I wonder if they are members of my family who lived
in Goldielands farmhouse when the magnificent watercolour of
the valley featuring the tower was painted in 1908.
a melancholic stillness in this painting that must have been
one of the greatest watercolours painted in Scotland at the
turn of last century.
work is the centrepiece of an exhibition featuring 33 paintings
by the Borders’ favourite artist son, Tom Scott, to be
staged at Hawick Museum until 27 March. This exhibition celebrates
150 years since Scott’s birth and it aims to show how
skilful this humble but truly masterful painter really was.
did Scott celebrate the beauty and the moodiness of the Borders
scenery, but he recorded its ballads and its turbulent history
too. He was also a well-known book illustrator and collector
of archeological artefacts, many of which are exhibited at the
landscapes remain his best-loved and most collectable works.
He captured the seasons and the moods they created in a very
Selkirk in 1854, one of five children, Tom’s father actively
discouraged his art, persuading him to follow in his own footsteps
as a tailor. Although young Tom showed promise in this training
in Edinburgh, he attended evening classes at The Edinburgh School
of Art and set a course for his natural vocation as an artist.
gained a significant mentor in oil and watercolour artist Sam
Bough whilst learning to draw and paint at the college. Influenced
by the great painters Constable and David Cox, as well as Bough,
Scott’s talents saw no bounds. Eventually, his father
relented and young Scott was so successful that he was exhibiting
at Edinburgh’s Royal Scottish Academy in his early twenties.
He was to exhibit 167 works at the RSA during his lifetime and
many of these were influenced by his travels in Northern Scotland,
France and Italy before he finally settled in his beloved Border
country in middle age.
famous work ‘Return to Hawick from Hornshole, 1514,’
was probably influenced by the Arch of Titus at the entrance
to the Roman Forum in the Italian capital. This great painting
has been taken from its usual home at Drumlanrig Tower in Hawick
to provide yet another great focus for the exhibition. Scott
used local people as models for this painting and it is curious
that may of the faces in the crowd resemble people who live
in the area today. It was seen as a local treasure and prints
of this painting were at one time sold for 100 guineas to secure
its purchase for the town.
portrait of Tom Scott by well-known Scottish painter George
Fiddes featured at the exhibition is on long term long from
a lover of contemporary rather then traditional art, I have
to admit to being in complete awe of the works of Tom Scott
and urge you to go to see these drawings and paintings even
if you’ve never been to an art exhibition. You may be
proud to know that we had a ‘Constable in our midst’
and this is what is being celebrated here.
note that access to the gallery is by stairway.
probable that some artistic licence has been used in the setting
for this picture.
to Elizabeth Hume, visual arts officer for SBC, for assistance
with this article.
To Tour Scottish Borders