“Ligne et Couleur” by a group of Architect-Artists on view at the Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh.

Dubai Creek Dhow Harbour, Mike Shepley

This art exhibition is presented by the Scottish Society of Architect-Artists (SSAA), which was founded in 1987 by former President of the Scottish Arts Club, the late Hamish Haswell-Smith. The aim was to create a group of members to refine and value their ‘inner artist’ through exhibitions of drawings, paintings, sculpture, jewellery, photography, print-making and experimental art, by those involved in architectural practice in Scotland.

The title of the show pays tribute to the cultural heritage of the long established European association, Ligne et Couleur.  Originally Les Amants de la Nature – lovers of nature, quietness and landscape – it was created in 1882, forced to close during World War 1 and then revived in 1935, with its members all qualified architects. 

The SSAA is affiliated with Ligne et Couleur, Paris which co-ordinates a network of architect-artists in England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Romania and Poland, a collaboration maintained by the dynamism of the architecture profession across Europe.  Annual exhibitions are based on specific themes, such as “the night”, “shadow and light” and “Notre-Dame de Paris” which have inspired the artists’ imagination.  

The exhibition this year on a theme of ‘Bridges’was recently at the Mairie du 5th Arrondissement in Paris, which represented artwork by six members from Scotland.

At the Scottish Arts Club, there are 38 works of art – paintings (oil, watercolour, acrylic),  drawings, sketches (Indian ink, pencil, charcoal) and sculpture – and here is a brief overview of a selection of architect-artists.

Now owned by the National Trust of Scotland, The Pineapple was built in 1761 for the 4th Earl of Dunmore as a summerhouse where he could appreciate the views around his estate; to extend the tropical theme, a variety of unusual fruits and vegetables were grown in the glasshouses in the Pineapple’s walled garden. This intricate pencil drawing, by Ian Stuart Campbell, colourfully and delicately decorated, captures the extraordinary exotic and surreal architectural design for this folly at Dunmore Park and known as the most bizarre building in Scotland. 

The Dunmore Pineapple, John Stuart Campbell

Extraordinary draughtsmanship is observed with fine architectural detail in Portpatrick Promenadeby Andy McKean, which leads the eye around the curving bay of grey, white. blue, pink and yellow houses, rather like Tobermory, Isle of Mull. This well crafted composition, the subtle effect of light and shadow and lapping waves on the sand, creates a most tranquil scene.

Portpatrick Promenade, Andy McKean

The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney in an historic fishing trade stores, now houses an important collection of British fine art – Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis – with a stunning waterfront location.  John Miller presents a shadowy figure at the door of the gallery with a rather ingenious interior view looking out the window to the harbour wall and the sea beyond.

Pier Stromness, John Miller

Near North Berwick, East Lothian is the charming, unspoilt Seacliff Beach popular with surfers, dog-walkers and for summer picnics, and from where you have fine views of Bass Rock and the ruins of Tantallon Castle.  With a vibrant palette of rainbow colours, John Redbond depicts a most evocative, impressionistic seascape – the brilliant coral- tinted sky and shimmering, shining golden light at sunset, creates a dramatic silhouette of the iconic, pudding-shaped, Bass Rock. 

Seacliff, John Redbond

Van Gogh arrived in Arles, France in February 1888 but in a few weeks, Spring arrived and he began a series of studies of trees in blossom, completing fourteen paintings of fruit orchards in a month. As he wrote to his brother, Theo, ‘You know these subjects are among the ones that cheer everyone up.’   Similar to Van Gogh’s pointillist technique, in Lebanese Orchard, John Dunbar uses quick brush strokes, dabs and dots with a flurry of olive and emerald green leaves, set against the sun-scorched earth and clear blue sky. Very cheerful indeed. 

Lebanese Orchard. John Dunbar

The title, Bathers Loch Lomond might recall a depiction of the same subject captured in Bathers at Asnieres by George Seurat, featuring a group of men relaxing on the banks of Seine on a hot summer day.  In Professor Robin Webster’s attractive watercolour, a lively expression of carefree escape is captured with five figures in swimsuits and shorts, strolling and paddling along the seashore, in the warm sunshine.  Crafted as a quick sketch, there’s a hint of a vintage period about the characters, as if conjuring up a hazy, nostalgic, childhood memory of this time and place.  

Bathers at Loch Lomond, Professor Robin Webster

This exhibition is on show in the elegant Salon upstairs at the Scottish Arts Club, offers a most inspiring and diverse range of artwork on the subject of nature, quietness and landscape.   

‘Ligne et Couleur’ @ The Scottish Arts Club

Scottish Society of Architect-Artists

5th April to 29th April, 2023  

Book a slot to visit on Eventbrite:


Scottish Arts Club 24 Rutland Square Edinburgh, EH1 2BW

Pea Green Goblet, John Picken

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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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