Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Paintings at Holyrood
Spanish architect Enric Miralles (1955-2000) described his design for the extraordinary Scottish Parliament at Holyrood as for a building “growing out of the land”. Inspired by the surrounding landscape, flower paintings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and upturned boats on the seashore, the intention was that the building should embody the unique spirit and character of the Scottish nation. Similarly, the key themes behind the art collection displayed in the building are described as ‘the impact of humanity and politics on the landscape, our relationship with the sea, and our identity and history as people living in Scotland’.
It is into this incredible crucible of Scottish art and life that this September the Trust has lent eight of Willie’s late paintings as part of a new long loan agreement with the Scottish Parliament. Displayed in two locations, five works will be sited in the publicly accessible Committee Room Circulation Area alongside works by the Boyle Family and Will Maclean from the Parliament’s permanent collection, with others by David Mach and Ian Hamilton Finlay situated close by. Three further pieces have been installed in the Presiding Officers’ Dining Room.
It is very exciting to have Willie given such significant presence at the heart of Scottish life. Furthermore, three of her paintings currently adorn the walls of Bute House, Edinburgh, the formal residence of Scotland’s First Minister – two from the Trust and one from the Scottish National Galleries.
The Scottish Parliament building is situated at the bottom of Edinburgh’s High Street and lies adjacent to the Palace of Holyrood.