Friday, June 20, 2014

Day two- Edinburgh

 A delightful long visit to the National Portrait gallery.
I do love a good portrait gallery. i think it humanizes so much of the history of places and you get such a good potted history by seeing those of significance from the country.
Amazing contributions the Scots have made to the world and then equally interesting stands taken by different people.

In the library there were some fascinating "death masks". The rationale for doing these and then displaying them was beyond me
It wasn't until we explored the murals and portraits in this beautiful building that it occurred to me that of course murals are portraits of people.
Malcolm the Maiden was a tad fascinating title.

The ceiling of the hall was equally as glorious.

John Byrne's exhibition Sitting Ducks.
John Byrne was born on 6th of January 1940 in Paisley, birthplace of Alexander Wilson, Father of American Ornithology. He grew up in Ferguslie Park housing scheme - at the time pretty much the worst slum in Europe and was educated at the city's St Mirin's Academy. He quit school in Fifth Year, prior to sitting his 'Highers' and, having failed to secure a job painting cinema posters with Mr Brown, Paisley's only commercial artist, started work as a ‘slab boy’ mixing powder colour for the designers at A F Stoddard, carpet manufacturers in nearby Elderslie.  His work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad. Several of his paintings hang in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the museum of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. 
In 2001 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to literature and the theatre but returned it in protest at the British Government's joining forces with the US Administration's invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. 
In 2004 he was made an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and a full member in 2007.
Byrne is an Honorary Fellow of the GSA, the RIAS, an Honorary Member of the RGI and has Honorary Doctorships from the universities of Paisley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde. 
Unfortunately the catalogue of his work was not available, yet, but what an incredible artist. Loved loved loved his work. 

Strolling along we walked past the coffee shop where JK Rowling sat and wrote  the Harry Potter books
I wasn't going to but had to photograph Greyfriars Bobby
We walked around the corner to the church yard where Michele said "this is the kirkyard wherein I fell on my bum".
A little inspiration from the great writers we had been seeing blended with a nasty experience from a few days prior when the combination of rounded marble pillar and slippery pants and impossible footing resulted in her slipping off the pillar and landing upon the ground all done without an audience, or injury.

The Power of Ten exhibition at the Museum of Scotland was about John Napier the "inventor of logarithms.

Who'd have thought!

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