Apr 082016

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR


Griffin Coe, fine art curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery views Floorpiece, 1996 by Maureen Bell, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections

Four centuries of art – from 17th Century paintings  to contemporary DVD installations – have been unveiled at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire in its latest venture with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The contrasting exhibition called Northern Lights shines a light on key works on loan from the city gallery while it remains closed for refurbishment.

And it’s hoped that Northern Lights will contribute to another dazzling year for the National Trust for Scotland property which saw visitor numbers grow by a quarter after launching its gallery space last year.

Dr Alison Burke, property manager of Drum Castle, says:

“I am delighted that the partnership between Aberdeen Art Gallery and the National Trust for Scotland has resulted in a second exhibition at Drum Castle. It is an honour to welcome this fascinating exhibition that includes four centuries of art within the historic environment of Drum Castle.

“Last year we did exceptionally well and saw a 24% increase in visitor numbers which means an increase in our income to help us conserve the castle and the estate, but it’s also about more people coming to Drum and finding out about Aberdeenshire’s oldest castle.

“Many visitors said they felt closer to the art in a domestic setting; they felt they could get up close and personal with the works. Other feedback was they liked the juxtaposition of viewing a contemporary collection in an historic location.

“The 2016 exhibition includes some of the most iconic works of Aberdeen Art Gallery and is called Northern Lights, themed around light and I think there is something for everybody.

“From historic art, we move on to influential art from the 20th Century, iconic works by Turner, McIntosh, DVD installations and scultpture; Drum is helping play a part in keeping these iconic works accessible to the public while Aberdeen Art Gallery is being refurbished.”

There are more than 30 paintings, sculptures and digital video including a new addition to the collection, Watercolour by Elizabeth Blackadder and works by Joseph Farquharson, Joan Eardley, John Byrne, John Bellany, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and SJ Peploe and the challenging performance work, Gralloch by Henry Coombes.


Skull portrait at Drum

Its launch comes as some of the castle’s own important art is back in place after undergoing restoration.

The Irvine family were staunch supporters of the Stuart cause, and the Jacobite portrait painter Cosmo Alexander collection at Drum has undergone a refurbishment, revealing a fresh face of ‘The Hidden Laird’ who hid in the tower to evade Government forces.

Alexander Irvine of Drum fought alongside Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden, retreating to the castle after the battle and was hidden in the secret room within the walls of the ancient Tower by his sister Mary Irvine for  three years.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is due to reopen following a major refurbishment in the winter of 2017 and has shared its collections with venues across city and shire to ensure the public can continue to enjoy the works.

Northern Lights showcases many of the Gallery’s iconic paintings in addition to challenging, cutting-edge pieces of the 21st century, side by said, says Olga Ferguson, fine art curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

“The overarching theme is Scottish art and artists but each room has its own theme,” says Olga.

“A breadth of art is shown, both works by Scottish artists and those with a Scottish connection, in a display where modern art mingles with earlier, traditional paintings. Each room has its own individual variation upon a theme, subject or style which offers a snapshot of the story of art in Scotland.

“There are 30 works of art and the contemporary pieces in particular contrast with what one would normally expect to find in a National Trust for Scotland castle.”

Deputy Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Marie Boulton added:

“It’s wonderful that while Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment we continue to offer a programme of art and music to residents and visitors to the city, and indeed across the UK and abroad.  By working in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland we are able to offer visitors to Drum Castle the opportunity to see a selection of some of our most popular artwork in a wonderful new setting.”

Last year’s collaboration, an exhibition entitled Human Presence, helped generate increased footfall, with the castle welcoming 33,500 visitors.

The new curated exhibition continues at Drum until March 31, 2017.

Drum Castle is located 10 miles west of Aberdeen off the A93. The castle is set in extensive grounds with walks, picnic area, an historic rose garden, adventure play area, tearoom and shop. Normal castle admission charges apply.

For further information call 01330 700 335 or visit http://www.nts.org.uk/property/drum-castle-garden-and-estate/



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