The Wider Circle
The Edinburgh School and Wider Circle
A collection of twelve Wilhelmina Barns-Graham drawings is a focal point within this exhibition at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh. Barns-Graham attended Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) between 1931 and 1937. Among her teachers were Donald Moodie, David Foggie, David Allison, Sir William Gillies and John (Johnny) Maxwell. Her friends at the college included Margaret (Peggy) Mellis, with whom she was to reconnect with later in St Ives, Denis Peploe, William Gear and Charles Pulsford. Although she could not be said to be part of the Edinburgh School, she was certainly part of the Wider Circle. Her training at the college was the foundation for her life and career as an artist. The drawings collection exhibited here reflects both her considerable skill as a draughtsman and the importance of drawing within her ECA education.
The twelve drawings have been taken from the period 1940 to 1958 and depict landscapes of places in which she lived (St Ives/Cornwall) and travelled to (Italy and Spain). Some are quite straightforward representations capturing the scene while others, particularly those of Chiusure and Formentera, go much further in exploring the structural physicality of the landscape. “Her drawing was a wonderfully flexible instrument, always alive to the structures and informing energies of both the natural and made world.” (Mel Gooding, Thought, feeling and form: the drawings of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, 2009.) She is well represented by this collection, a set of drawings to savour.
The Edinburgh School and Wider Circle, Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 5-26 January 2019