Last week I had a quick trip through to Edinburgh and so took the chance to see an exhibition in the Scottish Portrait Gallery, Queen Street, of work by one of my favourite artists – Victoria Crowe. The exhibition is entitled Victoria Crowe – Beyond Likeness, and shows her portrait paintings, done over many years. Some are of well known figures; academics, artists, writers and philosophers but there are other more intimate, private paintings of family.

This free exhibition -brilliant, I would pay to see these paintings – is on until November 2018 and I can’t recommend a visit highly enough. The work and accompanying text explore the connection and relationship that builds between a painter and sitter, whoever that sitter is. This exhibition shows some of the preparatory sketches and notes that Victoria Crowe took before starting the main work and that is always interesting – to have a glimpse into the thinking of the artist. Most of the paintings on show I really liked, in fact as I write I can’t think of one that didn’t excite or inspire in some way, either by a particular element or effect of her brushwork, there were some standout pieces however and it was interesting to read the accompanying text, some of it on each panel written by Victoria Crowe herself as she recalled the occasion and the relationships that formed between herself and the sitter. That is also fascinating. The paintings all demonstrate the elements of Victoria Crowe’s work that I like so much – her layering of colour, the vertical division of the pictorial plane, back lit elements – the list could go on. Far better if you go to see it yourself.

Full details of opening times and accessibility can be found at the Gallery website here National Portrait Gallery of Scotland


Victoria Crowe – Beyond Likeness